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Race report

Hocevar rallies on new tires to take Richmond Truck win

Carson Hocevar overcame a bad start and a risky pit strategy to win Saturday night’s rain-delayed NASCAR Truck Series race at Richmond (Va.) Raceway.

Hocevar ran into trouble before the race even began when he was forced to pit during pace laps for a flat tire and had to line up at the rear of the field.

Hocevar, 20, methodically made his way back up the field and while Ty Majeski – who led the most laps – tried to race to the finish without pitting for new tires, Hocevar was among those who pit under green for the fresh rubber.

The new tires paid off big, as Hocevar made up a more than 15-second deficit and passed Majeski for the lead with three of 250 laps to go. He cleared Majeski by 2.308 seconds at the checkered flag to earn his third victory of the year.

 

“I suck at this place and we at Niece Motorsports suck at this place – we’re terrible,” Hocevar said. “My splitter’s gone because I got a flat tire before we even went (green). We passed every single truck here.

“(Majeski) kind of threw it away but still he was fast I had the second-best truck the I had the first-best pit crew and the first-best crew chief on the box.”

Joining Hocevar in the in the 2023 playoffs are regular season champion Corey Heim, Majeski, last year’s champion Zane Smith, Ben Rhodes, Grant Enfinger, Christian Eckes, Nick Sanchez, Matt DiBenedetto and Matt Crafton.

Smith finished third in the race, Jack Garcia was fourth and Matt Mills rounded out the top five.

The start of the race was delayed by nearly an hour due to light rain and repeated lightning strikes.

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Stage 1

Majeski dominated on his way to the Stage 1 win over Rhodes, leading all 70 laps and putting 20 trucks at least one lap down.

Heim was third, Eckes fourth and Crafton rounded out the top five.

Stage 2

Majeski got around Rhodes with nine laps remaining and held on to take the Stage 2 win. Heim was third, Eckes fourth and Hocevar fifth.

Dean Thompson spun and wrecked in Turn 2 on lap 71 to bring out a caution for the first on-track incident in the race. Heim powered to the lead for the first time in the race on the restart.

Stage 3

Following the break between Stages 2 and 3, the lead-lap trucks all pit with Majeski first off pit road. However, Majeski was penalized for speeding on pit road and had to restart from the rear of the field.

With the penalty, Rhodes inherited the lead to begin the final stage only to see Hocevar move out front shortly after the restart.

 

With just over 60 laps remaining, Hocevar maintained a 2.5-second lead over Rhodes and Majeski rebounded from his pit road penalty and ran fifth.

Several lead-lap trucks kicked off a final round of green-flag pit stops with just over 50 laps to go to take on new tires and fuel to make it to the end of the race.

With 20 laps to go, Majeski had cycled back up to the lead but remained the only lead-lap truck who had not pit for new tires. Hocevar, on new tires, trailed him by about 15 seconds.

Hocevar on the new tires finally ran down Majeski and reclaimed the lead with three laps remaining.

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