Hocevar Comes Home to Collect the Money in the Bank
Marne, MI (Thursday, June 9, 2021) - Mother Nature made an appearance and tried to steal the show for the big Money in the Bank race for the ARCA/CRA Super Series and Budweiser Super Late Models on Wednesday night at Berlin Raceway and Entertainment Complex. Right before qualifying was to begin, a massive thunderstorm hit the property completely drenching everything. Everyone took cover while the storm moved through, and the summer-like temperatures dried everything quite quickly and there was only a slight delay to the night’s schedule.
Brian Campbell out-qualified the field and the inversion was set at nine. This brought a groan over the 24 car field as this put Carson Hocevar on the pole. Hocevar, a standout from Portage, MI that is currently tenth in points in the 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series standings, and coming off a second-place finish at Charlotte Speedway in North Carolina last weekend, won this very same race last season. The race was run in September due to COVID-19. Hocevar was joined on the front row by Eric White, out of St. Johns, IN.
As they took the green, Hocevar edged out White going into turn one for the lead, but they didn’t get far. As the field went into turn three, a slight stack-up collected veteran driver, Joe Bush, and Samantha (Janson) Stuart, into the outside wall, ending the night for both of them. This brought out the only red flag of the event to get the two crippled cars back to the pit area.
On the restart, all competitors seemed to be a little more patient and everyone settled in for their 150 lap ride. It was obvious to the race fans that most everyone was saving their tires. No major moves were being made, and more drivers were falling back off the pace as opposed to driving to the front. Berlin is tough on the rubber, and most everyone out there knows this, so pacing yourself for the long grind is very important. On lap 10, White actually got around Hocevar and led the race as it seemed Carson was falling back and saving tires. Tyler Roahrig even passed him for second on lap 12. But Hocevar didn’t seem to like riding around and passed the two back and was leading again on lap 23.
On lap 36, the second caution of the race came out for a spinning Tom Thomas. At this point, your top five were Hocevar, White, Kyle Crump, Roahrig, and Evan Shotko. Another caution on lap 41 slows the field and sends fast qualifier, Campbell, to the pit area. The crew raised the hood and began work, and was able to get Brian back out there, but the #47 dropped to the pit area for good on lap 52 ending his night.
A long 50 lap green flag run came to an end on lap 91 when the competition caution came out after 50 consecutive laps run under green, according to Money in the Bank rules. Everyone headed to the pit area knowing they’d get their spot back as long as they stayed under their time limit. Everyone made it back out and the race resumed with all drivers getting adjustments and changes to take them through the final stages of the race. Hocevar led White, Crump, Blake Rowe (from 10th), and Terry Senneker to the green flag on the restart. This is when anyone who had anything left in their car was ready to use it, and there were a few who did just that.
Only two more cautions would fly to slow the race. One for Lauren Bush-Sokoloski, who spun on lap 139, and one for Crump with 3 laps to go spinning in turn four battling for position. On the lap 139 caution, Senneker ducked into the pit area and never returned as the car was suffering some rear-end problems. He finished 17th. Both restarts saw Hocevar easily pull ahead of White and regain the lead taking him to his second straight Money in the Bank win. Derrick Griffith made the most of his lap 91 adjustments and wrestled his way up to a second-place finish after restarting ninth after that caution. White held on for a third place finish and was followed by Nate Wilson, who also made quite a run after adjustments to bring his car from a 16th place restart on lap 91, all the way to fourth place at the end, making most of his passes on the outside lane, not the preferred groove. Rookie Blake Rowe ran a superb race, running as high as third at times, and finishing a very respectful fifth. Jesse Love, Roahrig, Steve Dorer, Thomas, and Stephen Nasse rounded out the top 10.
Berlin Raceway is back in action this Saturday night with the Auto Value Bumper to Bumper Super Sprints headlining the show. Check out Horsepower Happenings podcast Monday night at 9pm to hear more about the Money in the Bank and other races from around the evening, here at www.HorsepowerHappenings.com.
Story - Ed Inloes, Horsepower Happenings
Photo - Berlin Raceway