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Carson Hocevar Surges Late for Homestead Victory; Punches Ticket to Phoenix

As the laps wound down in Saturday’s Baptist Health Cancer Care 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, a clearer picture began to develop of the drivers who would be competing for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series title in 2023.

Carson Hocevar, driver of the No. 42 Chevrolet for Niece Motorsports, will be one of the drivers competing for the championship at Phoenix Raceway, after scoring the victory Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, his fourth of the season.

The 20-year-old driver was able to make quick work of Ben Rhodes with 11 laps remaining in Saturday’s event, getting the lead away from the former NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series who was on much older tires.

Arguably, Hocevar made a more crucial pass just a couple of laps earlier, when he made his way around defending NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Zane Smith for the runner-up spot, which at the time was viewed as the effective race lead

A native of Portage, Michigan, Hocevar crossed the start-finish line with an advantage of 2.705 seconds over Smith, thus punching his ticket into the Final Four, and collecting his fourth career victory.

Despite finishing in second place, Zane Smith was unable to muster the points necessary to lock into the Final Four, leaving him with no chance to score back-to-back championships in his final season with Front Row Motorsports.

Ben Rhodes was able to hold on for a third-place finish, albeit more than 13 seconds behind the race’s eventual winner. After struggling for most of the afternoon, the result was enough to advance Rhodes to Phoenix, by one point over Nick Sanchez.

Corey Heim, the regular-season champion and the only driver to enter Homestead with a guaranteed berth into the next round of the post-season, came home in fourth place, after leading a race-high 57 laps.

Grant Enfinger rounded out the top-five finishers in Saturday’s event at Homestead, and after a fantastic season, will also head to Phoenix with a shot to win the championship in what is the final NASCAR Truck Series campaign for GMS Racing.

Bayley Currey came home in sixth-place after running inside the top-10 throughout the entire afternoon, while Stewart Friesen, Matt Crafton, Rajah Caruth, and Ty Majeski all earned finishes inside the top-10.

Nick Sanchez, driving the No. 2 Chevrolet for Rev Racing, showed pace throughout the afternoon but ended up having an issue on the final pit stop of the race, which dropped him to 18th place, one lap down.

Christian Eckes, who was the only driver to enter Saturday’s event without a major issue in the NASCAR Truck Series post-season, finished 21st after a restart violation late in the second stage, as well as a speeding penalty during green-flag stops.

A finish of 21st place wasn’t enough to advance Eckes and McAnally-Hilgemann Racing into the Final Four, despite having an absolutely stellar campaign, which featured three victories.

Heading to Phoenix in two weeks, the Final Four will be Carson Hocevar, Ben Rhodes, Corey Heim, and Grant Enfinger, as three of the four drivers eligible will look to capture their first-ever championship.

NASCAR Truck Series Results – 2023 Baptist Health Cancer Care 200:

Race Results: NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Baptist Health Cancer Care 200 at Homestead

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