Niece Motorsport’s driver Carson Hocevar, 19, broke a bone in his foot in an accident during last week’s race at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway and will have Daniel Suarez trackside at Sonoma Raceway for Saturday’s DoorDash 250 (7:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) ready to serve as a relief driver if needed.
But the Californian, who used crutches to get around when not in his No. 42 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet, still went out and won the pole position by more than a half a second on Saturday afternoon. He turned in the best-in-class lap only to in have an off-course excursion just beyond the timing line. The mishap caused enough damage to his truck that Hocevar will have to start the race from the rear of the field.
His Niece Motorsports teammate this weekend, Ross Chastain – one of five NASCAR Cup Series drivers who will compete in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race Saturday – will start from pole.
With crutches leaning against his chair in the garage, Hocevar looked discouraged as his team worked on the truck.
“It was dumb, I tried to too hard to get to the line,” he said, adding, “I just wanted the pole and tried too hard, way too hard. … Dumb mistake.”
Prior to the qualifying session, Hocevar reported that he was doing well physically, hoping he “exceeded” the team’s expectations.
“I feel happy, I’m enjoying it, I feel fine, there’s no issue, no complaints,” Hocevar said.
The Michigan native is still racing for his first career victory in his second fulltime season in the series. He finished runner-up in back-to-back races this Spring – at Bristol, Tenn. and Darlington, S.C. He has five top-10 and three top-five finishes and is ranked eighth in the standings through the opening 11 races. His DNF last weekend was his first of the season.
Hocevar raced the truck for 10 laps making up 12 spots before turning it over to Suarez. Suarez made up 2 laps and finished 6th.
In other notable news from qualifying. … the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship leader and reigning champion, Ben Rhodes will start 17th in the No. 99 ThorSport Racing Toyota. … two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch earned a third-place start in the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota. Busch, who has a record 61 Truck Series wins is a two-time winner in the NASCAR Cup Series at Sonoma. … California-native Hailee Deegan, a former NASCAR ARCA Menards Series West pole-winner at Sonoma, turned in a ninth-place run in time trials (best by a female in the series on road courses) – marking her second top-10 start of the 2022 season.
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