Carson Hocevar had been so close, so many times, to recording his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory, but until Saturday’s SpeedyCash.com 250 at Texas Motor Speedway he had been kept out of victory lane.
However, on the final lap of Saturday’s race, opportunity knocked and the 20-year-old racer answered the door.
Hocevar stealing the win was made possible when Nick Sanchez, the dominant driver of the day, got squirrely after a wicked side draft of Zane Smith for the race lead on the race’s final lap. The side draft sent Sanchez sideways, where the right side tires of the No. 2 Chevrolet Silverado dipped into the fronstretch dirt and grass.
Sanchez would skid back in front of Hocevar, who stood in the gas. The two would make contact, which would send Sanchez careening into Smith in the outside lane. Christian Eckes would pile in as well, as Hocevar scooted away to victory.
Video: Nick Sanchez, Zane Smith Involved in Last-Lap Crash While Battling for Victory at Texas
Following scoring his first-career win, Hocevar felt he was at fault for the final lap crash.
“I’m just excited. I didn’t mean to get into [Sanchez], obviously,” Hocevar explained. “I just went to give him a push and they were sideways. The second I hit him, he was gone. I apologize for them. I’ll take the fall for it, I wrecked a Chevy.”
Hocevar concedes that Sanchez should have been the winner of Saturday’s race, but the victory after leading only the final lap felt like vindication for Hocevar, who had lost so many past races that he had dominated.
“He deserved to win for sure,” Hocevar said of Sanchez. “but of all the times that we were the fastest car and I don’t win, and this team doesn’t win and they deserve to win. More than anything, I finally get to stop getting the same question I’ve been asked so many times. We didn’t deserve to win today, we were just in the right spot at the right time.”
While three of the top-four trucks crashed on the final lap, Chase Purdy was able to steer clear of the mayhem to score a career-best finish in second.
Stewart Friesen snuck his way to third, Ty Majeski came home in fourth and Jake Garcia finished fifth in the race.
Fifth-place was Garcia’s first-ever top-five finish in NASCAR Truck Series competition.
Hailie Deegan, Corey Heim, Ryan Vargas, Jack Wood, and Ben Rhodes rounded out the top-10 finishers in the SpeedyCash.com 250.
RELATED: Race Results – NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series SpeedyCash.com 250 at Texas
Deegan, her sixth-place effort tied her career-best finish. Vargas, and Wood also scored their respective career-best finishes in the race as well.
Sanchez, who led a race-high 168 laps in the 172-lap event, would be credited with a 16th-place finish, while Eckes and Smith would finish 15th and 14th respectively.
The race was marred by a scary crash on lap 145 of the race involving Dean Thompson, Matt Mills, Armani Williams and Trey Hutchens.
Thompson, who spun in front of the oncoming field, was tagged in the passenger side door by Mills. The contact sent Thompson slightly airborne and caused his No. 5 truck to spin wildly. Thompson would collect Williams and Hutchens following that initial contact.
The 21-year-old Thompson was evaluated in the infield care center and later transported to a local hospital for further evaluation. Everyone else involved in the crash walked away unscathed.
Dean Thompson Transported to Local Hospital for Further Evaluation After Vicious Crash at Texas