HAGERSVILLE, Ontario — It’s always a challenge to figure out who will be the next big star to emerge. One of the current hopefuls is Carson Hocevar.
Competing at the Late Model level, he has been scoring solid finishes across the board, including a championship at Berlin Raceway last season and becoming the youngest winner of a CRA/JEGS Late Model history.
Most recently, he caught the attention of Canadian race fans with his runner-up performance in the Canadian Short Track Nationals at Jukasa Motor Speedway.
“KBR Development definitely gave me a good car on the long run, but it definitely seemed like the story of today was short runs and we didn’t have the fire off speed,” he told POPULAR SPEED. “Bubba (Pollard) would get out there, and we would start to reel him back in after eight or 10, but we just didn’t have the eight or 10 laps we needed.”
While he started the 200-lap event on pole, he wouldn’t remain up front as he would be sent to the tail of the field at Lap 41 following contract on the track.
“My guys kept me calm,” he said. “I knew we had a lot of laps to go. It takes the wind out of your sail a little bit, but you have to do the best you can to motor on forward and that’s what we were able to do tonight.”
Hocevar quickly made his way back to the front, going from 30th to sixth in 30 laps, moving up into third with on a restart at Lap 103. Through the back half of the event, he battled for positions inside of the top-two, including a lengthy side-by-side battle with teammate Raphael Lessard, before crossing the finish line in second.
For his first trip to the 5/8-mile in Ontario, he complemented the staff for their dedication and hard work in putting the inaugural event together.
“They definitely put their time and money into this place and devoted a lot of hours getting this place going,” he said. “Excited to see what they’re going for the future – bigger payout, better grandstands. There’s obviously some things they can do better, but all in all for the first time for this Canadian deal with US guys coming and 40-something cars, they did a great job. Race Control was definitely on-point. There are some things they can work on for sure, but you’ll always have that with the first event.”
The big announcement, though, was the fact the purse will increase over the next three years. Next season, the best pro late model drivers will vie for a purse worth $300,000, followed by $500,000 in 2020. If that wasn’t enough, the dollar value will be set to $1 million in 2021.
“It’s pretty cool,” he said. “I’m excited to see what they can get for car count. I’m excited to get back here, and I definitely think we could get the win next year for sure.”
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