Carson Hocevar’s NASCAR Cup Series debut came to an early end after a stunning issue at World Wide Technology Raceway. He was not able to achieve his goal of running all the laps, but he remains optimistic after a surreal experience.
Hocevar’s day ended during Stage 2 after his brake rotor exploded and sent him hard into the outside wall. He was able to make it back to pit road, but the team took the No. 7 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro behind the wall. This disrupted a strong run that featured him quietly racing in the 16th position.
“I thought it was great. I had a blast,” Hocevar said after exiting the infield care center. “Just so thankful for the opportunity. I don’t have a job for next year. I know Al Niece and Cody Efaw want me to run for them and I will forever run a race or however many.
“But man, I’m just so thankful that [Spire Motorsports] gave me the opportunity — the opportunity to drive a Xfinity car and now driving a Cup car. I was running 16th.. just so surreal for the first time ever. I thought we were going to have a good day and be in a good spot for Schluter Systems, Celsius, Spire Motorsports, Ryan Sparks, and the No. 7 Chevy team.”
Hocevar was only the first driver to hit the wall after a brake rotor issue. Tyler Reddick was second, Noah Gragson was the third, and Bubba Wallace was the fourth. All four were unable to finish the race after their rotors exploded.
Hocevar Was Outperforming Another Replacement Driver
There were two drivers under the microscope entering the race weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway — Hocevar and Corey LaJoie. Both were replacement drivers for the Cup Series race, and both had an opportunity to turn heads.
Hocevar was outperforming LaJoie early in the weekend. He secured a better qualifying spot (26th) after LaJoie (30th) hit the wall during his lap. Hocevar then spent the first stage learning the No. 7 Chevrolet while running around his starting position.
Once the second stage began, Hocevar made some moves. He worked his way up to 20th after avoiding a spinning Michael McDowell and then he reached the 16th position before the brake rotor malfunctioned.
LaJoie, for comparison, finished the first stage 30th overall and then he moved up to 24th after a solid pit stop by the No. 9 team. The car was not where LaJoie wanted it, but Hendrick Motorsports continued to work throughout Stage 2 before the veteran finished 25th. LaJoie went on to finish 21st overall while replacing a suspended Chase Elliott.
Hocevar Has Delivered Across Multiple Series
Hocevar is a full-time driver in the Craftsman Truck Series, but he has made starts across the three national series while driving for both Niece Motorsports and Spire Motorsports.
Hocevar’s Truck Series season started with some struggles, but he has since turned it around. He scored his first career win at Texas Motor Speedway, and he is currently riding a streak of four straight top-five finishes. This has put him seventh in the standings with four races remaining in the regular season.
The Michigan native also made his Xfinity Series debut during the 2023 season. He first joined SS Green Light Racing as a last-minute replacement for Blaine Perkins, and he finished 38th due to a mechanical issue.
Hocevar then joined Spire Motorsports for races at Darlington Raceway and Charlotte Motor Speedway. He secured the first two top-10 finishes of his Xfinity Series career while avoiding incidents at the intermediate tracks. He was supposed to make his debut at Dover Motor Speedway, but the team withdrew due to inclement weather.
What is next for Hocevar? He doesn’t have this answer as summer approaches. What is apparent is that he will continue to get opportunities based on how he has performed across the three national series.