Throughout Saturday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, fans were not treated to a typical short track brawl, but a late race incident between two drivers gave spectators a slight taste of that.
Race winner, Chandler Smith, put fellow playoff contender, Carson Hocevar, a lap down on Lap 215. Moments after the No. 18 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota Tundra dove beneath the No. 42 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado, Hocevar made contact with Nick Leitz in the outer groove of Turn 1.
Every championship competitor — not named Chandler Smith — had to take a backseat over the course of the 250-lap contest as Smith absolutely dominated the event. Hocevar was a driver that hovered in or around the top-10 for majority of the race.
After climbing from his truck, Hocevar explained that he suffered from a lack of grip throughout the evening.
“I mean we were just struggling,” Hocevar said, via FOX Sports. “We had no grip after 20-laps, we just missed it, on our setup.”
Hocevar broke down his side of the collision with Leitz. Making his position known on the track and how he was in the process of being lapped by the leader when the incident occurred.
“My fault, I guess,” he said. “I was looking left and I didn’t see him cross my nose. He did us a huge favor, at least got us some spots. I don’t mean to do that, obviously, we were so bad, it didn’t matter. We just wanted to have a good run.
“Just misjudged that one. I was looking right, then looked left, had Chandler (Smith) on my inside. You expect him somewhere and then all of a sudden he’s right there. When I saw him, I locked up the tire and took it myself up to the wall, thought we were done. Just, move on.”
Leitz, a part-time competitor, may not be in the hunt for a title, however, he showed his displeasure with Hocevar in a simple message on social media, Tweeting, “That’s one way to stay in the [lead] lap I guess.”
That’s one way to stay in the leap lap I guess @CarsonHocevar
— Nick Leitz (@NickLeitz_) August 14, 2022
Entering Richmond, the 19-year-old sat eighth in the 2022 NCWTS Playoff grid. A 10th place finish on Saturday night, now puts the Michigan-native ninth in the championship standings, three points out of advancing to the next round with the Round of 10 elimination race next on the schedule.
With how far off his truck was at the 0.750-mile Richmond Raceway, Hocevar is just ready to get back to the style of racing that has made him a Playoff contender.
“Just missed it,” added Hocevar. “I don’t know where we’re struggling on these short tracks. I’m excited to go back to a mile and a half, which seems to be more of our bread and butter.”
Next on the schedule is just what the youngster is looking for, a second trip of the year to the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway. Hocevar scored a 15th-place finish in the Spring race.