A veteran NASCAR driver just turned some heads with some strong comments. Ryan Preece sounded off after contact with Carson Hocevar took away a chance for victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“I just want to focus on that final restart, or that restart him and I drove side-by-side,” Preece told FOX Sports’ Regan Smith after finishing 11th in the Camping World Truck Series race. “All you kids watching right now wanting to get to this level, don’t do that. Race with respect. Don’t wreck the guy on the outside of you trying to win your first race. It doesn’t get you anywhere.
The incident occurred after a surprising turn of events. Hocevar, who led a race-high 57 laps, had a massive lead over the field with fewer than 10 laps remaining. He appeared to be en route to his first career win, but Jesse Little and Tyler Ankrum brought out the caution with contact. This incident forced the field to bunch back up and attempt overtime.
Hocevar and Preece lined up on the front row for the overtime, and they began fighting for position. The No. 42 of Hocevar slid up the track and hit Preece’s No. 17 before spinning and backing into the wall. The contact with the wall caused major damage to the No. 42 while the No. 17 suffered a cut tire after skidding against the wall.
Ross Chastain, who ran part-time for Niece Motorsports, took advantage of the wreck involving the two leaders. He took the lead for the second overtime and held off both Grant Enfinger and John Hunter Nemechek to capture his fourth career victory in the series.
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Hocevar Took Exception To Preece’s Comments
Preece turned some heads with his comments, which ultimately made their way to Hocevar’s ears. The second-year Truck Series driver took exception and provided his own side of the story to multiple reporters.
“I crashed him, but if he wants [to talk about] young drivers with no respect, I just spanked his ass,” Hocevar said, recording courtesy of FOX Sports’ Bob Pockrass. “We waxed him. He was fast, but I put it to him. I messed up. I made a mistake, I screwed up. I wasn’t going to try to crash him and crash myself in the process. I used him up a little bit, but I just got loose from getting tight and drove him into the wall and drove way too hard into [Turn] 3 with the damage I had.
“I somewhat heard what he said on MRN,” Hocevar continued. “He has every right to be mad and say what he wants, but I don’t agree with all of it. It’s just hard racing on old tires. I made a mistake and it cost both of us. It is what it is.”
Hocevar & Preece Raced for 2 Different Objectives
The contact at Charlotte Motor Speedway led to both drivers finishing outside of the top 10, and it also disrupted the pursuit of two separate goals. Obviously, Preece and Hocevar each wanted to reach Victory Lane and celebrate with their teams, but they each had other reasons to pursue the win.
Hocevar has yet to win his first career race in the Camping World Truck Series. He has come close with six top-fives, but he has yet to celebrate in Victory Lane. Achieving this goal would have been a major moment in his career, and it would have locked him into the playoffs with six regular-season races remaining.
Preece, on the other hand, is pursuing a win that will help him cement his future in NASCAR. He is currently in the midst of a part-time season with Stewart-Haas Racing that includes starts across the three national series. He is in line to potentially replace a retiring Aric Almirola in the Cup Series, but there is no guarantee that SHR will go this route.
Securing a win would have helped Preece secure another win trophy. It may have also played a role in determining his future prospects. Neither he nor Hocevar achieved their respective goals at Charlotte Motor Speedway, so they will now have to continue to pursue them at different races on the remaining schedule.
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