Hocevar Wins, Crump Second at 49th Winchester 400
Portage Teen Adds Crown Jewel, Rosen Celebrates Finish Winchester, IN (Wednesday, October 14, 2020) - Every once in a while, a driver will have a season that is just something special and one that will be hard to forget. For Portage, Michigan’s Carson Hocevar, that has been 2020 in more ways than imaginable. Another jewel was added to the 17-year-old’s crown Sunday following his win at the 49th Running of the Winchester 400. Right behind him, another Michigan native who is celebrating a near win with his team - Kyle Crump. Hocevar rolled into the Winchester 400 weekend already having won some of the country's biggest races, including the Redbud 400, Money in the Bank 150, and the Glass City 200. Much like his Redbud 400 win, Hocevar prepared to race behind the wheel of the TK Racing VanDoorn Racing Development number 71, a car that was brand new just a couple of months prior. The TK Racing team had good speed throughout the weekend, qualifying fourth quick during Saturday’s Winchester 400 Qualifying Day with Hocevar, while Crump posted a speed good enough for 6th. Rolling off from the fourth starting spot, Hocevar and fellow Michigan driver Crump quickly went to the front. The pair took control of the field after an early race caution; during which many cars including race leader, Cayden Lapcevich came down pit road to clear leaves from their grill. On the restart, Hocevar showed his speed and made it well known he would be one of the cars to beat in the 400 lap contest. Crump held steady with Hocevar throughout the green flag runs, staying latched onto the fellow VanDoorn Racing Development driver’s rear bumper. As the laps increased, Crump found it harder to keep the pace that Hocevar was setting, starting to slide back, although not losing positions.
The first major challenge for the race came near the halfway point when Pinellas Park, Florida’s, Stephen Nasse suddenly came to life. Nasse worked his way by Crump and quickly tracked down Hocevar. After a short battle for the lead through lapped traffic, Nasse took over the lead for the first time in the race. The lead would find Hocevar again on lap 280 when Nasse slowed coming down the front stretch, before coming to a stop in turn two after running out of fuel. Nasse fell a lap down as a result of the blunder, and Hocevar went back to work pacing the field. Despite his best efforts, Nasse couldn’t fully recover from falling a lap down, working his way back up to third before stalling out behind the Michigan duo. The win was not only Hocevar’s first, but also the first Winchester 400 win for VanDoorn Development and TK Racing who, according to Speed51.com, have been searching for a win with Johnny VanDoorn since 2007. Hocevar admitted things didn’t come quite as easy as it may have looked. “Nasse got in front of us there and was better. I think that was the testimony to winning it,” Hocevar told Horsepower Happenings’, Rich Frantz. “We saw what his car was doing and had to take some sort of a big swing and hit on it perfect,” Hocevar said. The second-place finish for Crump also held significance, marking the first time that Stan and Judi Rosen fielded a car that finished the Winchester 400, let alone had a shot to win. Crump explained how he was simply happy to be at Winchester after a massive crash earlier in the season. “I wasn’t sure what was going to happen after that whole throttle hung at Berlin - I didn’t know if they were going to be done for the season,” Crump said on the Horsepower Happenings Podcast. “It feels good for me, [Stan and Judi] put so much into it. Just building that new car in the nick of time. They live, breathe, eat and sleep racing,” Crump explained. The season ends with the Winchester 400 for Crump, however, Hocevar is continuing to chase big races. Next up is the All American 400 from Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway on Sunday, November 1st. After that, Hocevar will also chase his first career Snowball Derby title from 5 Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida. All that before Hocevar begins the next leg of his career, racing full time for Niece Motorsports in the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series in 2021. For more stories from around the region, be sure to log onto www.horsepowerhappenings.com. Listen to the Horsepower Happenings Podcast, with new episodes every Monday night at 9:00 pm. Story - Zach Hiser, Horsepower Happenings Photo - Kevtron, Kyle Crump Racing Facebook