Carson Hocevar has been a force to be reckoned with every time he shows up at the track in a Super Late Model in 2020. That continued at Winchester Speedway Sunday, as the Michigan driver won the 49th Running of the Winchester 400 presented by JEGS.
Hocevar spent most of the afternoon leading the way in the No. 71 VanDoorn Racing Development machine, inheriting the lead at lap 280 after Stephen Nasse ran out of fuel. Hocevar would ultimately win by more than five seconds over Kyle Crump.
The victory adds to a year where Hocevar has already collected wins in the Redbud 400 at Anderson Speedway, Money in the Bank at Berlin Raceway and the Show-Me Showdown at Lebanon I-44 Speedway among others.
It also marked the first win for the No. 71 VanDoorn entry in the Winchester 400, as Johnny VanDoorn has been trying since 2007 to win the historic event.
“To be able to win the Redbud 400 at Anderson, and now here, it’s a big deal for all of us,” Hocevar told Speed51. “They’ve been chasing the 400 for years with Johnny, so to be able to step in and win my second-ever time, first time together, it’s a true testimony of Butch, Johnny and VanDoorn Racing Development.”
It’s another win for Hocevar’s redemption tour, following struggles in Late Model competition in 2019.
“Nobody would have counted me as a favorite based on the last few years. I don’t think anyone had it on their bingo card for 2020 for me to win five races and two or three crown jewels. This is a big deal for us, a big deal for me.”
While the thrill of a crown jewel win was evident for Hocevar, the disappointment for Nasse was equally clear. While the Florida driver rebounded to a third-place finish, he had charged through the field on multiple occasions during the day.
It was a bitter heartbreak for Nasse, but one that he ultimately chalked up to one of those days where it wasn’t meant to be.
“It’s just tough to swallow,” said Nasse. “I hate it. I hate it for my guys, I hate it for myself. I know nobody wanted the day to go like this on my team. They worked their tails off to bring me the best possible cars.
“Sometimes things just don’t go your way. That was the case tonight. We had a bad fast car. I think we were the only ones able to make moves like we did on the track. It just didn’t work out for us.”
Between Hocevar and Nasse sat Kyle Crump, finishing second in a brand-new race car for the Winchester 400. Bringing the new machine home in one piece after a strong showing left Crump smiling at day’s end.
“This is a brand-new car. We totaled one at Berlin, not too long ago,” explained Crump. “Right out of the box, it had speed. It kept up with the 71 for a little bit, not much. I couldn’t be happier.”
Josh Brock claimed his second ARCA/CRA Super Series championship with an 11th-place finish in the Winchester 400. While the other three drivers in the “Championship Chase” fell by the wayside over the course of the grueling race, Brock forged ahead to claim the title.
“It feels awesome,” said Brock. “The first one always holds a special place in your heart, but today was a long, hard-fought battle. We had to take a different strategy, but at the end of the day we had to beat three guys. You always had to fight it differently and work hard.”
Many of the drivers on hand at Winchester Speedway will now turn their focus towards the remaining fall classics on the Super Late Model schedule, such as the All American 400 and the Snowball Derby.
Those who do make the trip to those events will have to deal with the red-hot Hocevar.
“We’ve got All American, the last Blizzard race and the Derby to end the year, as well as two Truck starts for Niece Motorsports. Hopefully, we’ll end on a high, keep this momentum rolling and sweep all year.”
Stay tuned to Speed51.TV for post-race video coverage of the Winchester 400, as well as a replay of the Speed51.TV broadcast of the race.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo
49th Running of the Winchester 400 presented by JEGS Unofficial Results