The Craftsman Truck Series took on Texas Motor Speedway on April 1 as part of a FOX Sports doubleheader. The race was full of wrecks, which created chaos and led to Carson Hocevar winning his first career race.
The Truck Series race came to an end under caution after a double-overtime restart. Zane Smith and rookie Nick Sanchez were battling hard for the lead when contact between them got the No. 2 loose. Sanchez went through the grass and got back onto the track, but some contact from Hocevar sent the No. 2 sideways and into Smith’s No. 38.
Sanchez and Smith both wrecked, as did Christian Eckes as he had nowhere to go. All three ended the day in the infield care center while NASCAR officials tried to determine if Hocevar was the leader at the time of caution.
The process took a few minutes, but NASCAR ultimately determined that Hocevar was indeed the winner. This meant that he was able to celebrate in Victory Lane for the first time in his national series career.
“I’m just excited,” Hocevar told FOX Sports after climbing out of the No. 42 Chevrolet. “I didn’t mean to get into the [No. 2], obviously. I just went to give him a push, and they were sideways. The second I hit him, he was just gone. So, I apologize to them. I’ll take the fall for it. I wrecked a Chevy.”
The Truck Series Nearly Tied a Cautions Record
The Craftsman Truck Series has competed at Texas Motor Speedway 49 times since the 1997 season when Kenny Irwin Jr. won the inaugural event. The race on April 1, 2023, marked the fifth time that there have been 10 or more cautions.
The 2011 spring race, the 2017 spring race, and the 2020 fall race all had 10 cautions. The June race from 2019 had a record-setting 13 total cautions as only 18 of the 32 entries were able to finish.
The 2023 spring race nearly tied this record. There were 12 total cautions. Two were for stage breaks, one was a competition caution, and one was for debris on the track. The rest were all for on-track incidents.
Chad Chastain accounted for the first two cautions while Lawless Alan accounted for two others later in the race. The others were multi-car incidents that involved a total of 15 entries. One, in particular, led to Dean Thompson being taken to Baylor Scott & White Medical Center for further evaluation.
The numerous cautions led to several trucks leaving the track on the back of tow trucks, and they completely changed the outcome of the race. The expected winner finished 16th while Hocevar celebrated his first win.
Sanchez Had a Dominant Chevrolet Silverado
Sanchez, a rookie with Rev Racing, entered the 2023 season with no previous starts in the Craftsman Truck Series. However, he has delivered some strong performances with a runner-up at Atlanta Motor Speedway and a seventh-place finish at Circuit of the Americas.
Sanchez started from the pole at Texas Motor Speedway after inclement weather washed out practice and qualifying, and he quickly took control of the race. The rookie led 168 laps and swept the first two stages while holding off the field on numerous restarts.
There were 12 cautions at Texas Motor Speedway, so Sanchez was constantly challenged for the lead. He continued to maintain his spot at the front of the pack while several drivers such as Ben Rhodes and Zane Smith attempted to make the pass.
Sanchez’s day came to an end in the infield care center, but he continued to show that he will be a factor throughout the 2023 Craftsman Truck Series season. He will keep putting the No. 2 in a spot where it can potentially win.