The legendary Dale Earnhardt was once coined “One Tough Customer” in his Wrangler sponsorship days. Well, 19-year old NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competitor Carson Hocevar is working on filling that modern role this weekend.
The driver of the No. 42 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado confirmed on Friday during a media availability that he broke his right tibia just at his ankle in a vicious last-lap crash (VIDEO HERE) in last week’s race at WWT Raceway at Gateway.
Following the crash on Saturday, Hocevar was taken from the infield care center to a local hospital for further evaluation on his leg and ankle. By Monday, he returned to his native Michigan where he went into surgery to get one screw placed to stabilize his broken tibia.
Hocevar, who was cleared medically by his doctors to return to racing was also cleared by NASCAR to practice on Friday at Sonoma Raceway, after showing that he could properly exit his truck in the event of an emergency.
In an effort to strengthen his ankle, Hocevar is wearing a brace on his right ankle. Bob Pockrass of FOX Sports captured video of Hocevar exiting the No. 42 team’s hauler on Friday and, as expected, Hocevar’s mobility is very limited.
Carson Hocevar is wearing a brace on his ankle. Here is him getting out of his hauler. He has gotten in and out of the truck to NASCAR satisfaction so he can practice. pic.twitter.com/3EKVB9awyt
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) June 10, 2022
If Hocevar can showcase that he is able to maintain speed during practice and there are no complications, he will be approved to race on Saturday at the 1.99-mile California road course. If Hocevar does indeed race on Saturday, he will have NASCAR Cup Series competitor Daniel Suarez on standby in case he needs a relief driver during the race.
Hocevar says that he has not been on painkillers since sustaining the injury and that he is only approved to take Tylenol. Despite the pain, Hocevar wants to race.
“Regardless, I’m going to try to race, if NASCAR approves me,” Hocevar explained. “More than anything, I want to start the race. Obviously, I don’t want to sit in my motor coach or sit in the trailer and watch. I want to try to tough it out a little bit. But more than anything, it’ll be about the pain tolerance.”
Per the NASCAR rule book, as long as Hocevar starts the race he will receive the points for wherever the No. 42 truck finishes, no matter who brings it across the finish line.
Hocevar says he’ll play it by ear on whether he’ll run the full distance on Saturday. He’ll take into account the entire big picture of his team’s championship run.
“The plan is to race for a championship and to not prolong this,” Hocevar said. “I’m going to do the best I can and we’re going to take it step by step. Whether I get one lap of practice, or if I get a handful, will determine that.”
Hocevar sits eighth in the 2022 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series point standings after 11 races, and prior to the injury, Hocevar had been zeroing in on his first-career victory.
The driver has already recorded a pair of runner-up finishes this season. One came at the Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt Race and the other came at the treacherous Darlington Raceway.
If there are any further updates on the Carson Hocevar injury following NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice at Sonoma Raceway, we will update this story.