PORTAGE, Mich. (WOOD) — At 17, Carson Hocevar of Portage doesn’t own a car yet — but he sure knows how to drive one.
“I absolutely love it. You see NASCAR running three times a week. I’d love to run seven times a week if I can. I love racing. It’s what I love to do,” he said.
He won a big race in Missouri Saturday, taking the checkered flag in the CRA Super Series Show Me State Showdown 125. He overcame a flat tire with 17 laps remaining to work his way back to the front.
“It’s a huge confidence booster. Last year, we really struggled and I’ve never went winless before. As short as my career has been, I’ve never gone winless,” Hocevar said. “So to come back my first time out all during the offseason, to get the win, especially in that fashion, is surreal.”
Hocevar has been winning races since he was 13, tearing up the track at Berlin Raceway near Marne. His mom and dad had to drive him to the track.
“They still pretty much drive me, so that’s the biggest joke,” he said. “I’ve got my license now but they like to keep me rested. They’re scared with me behind the wheel sometimes. I feel like I’m a pretty good driver on the street. They kind of don’t think so.”
Driver’s education was the easiest class he ever took, he joked.
“My instructor knows my dad so he knew who I was when I came for my first drive,” Hocevar said. “He was laughing. He said, ‘I always wanted to run with a NSACAR driver, I just didn’t think it was going to be in my driver’s ed class.'”
This season, he’ll be driving the No. 40 truck on the NASCAR Truck Series.
But with limited opportunities to actually get on the track these days, Hocevar is spending most of his time in his basement, training on a simulator. His mom says he spends too much time on it. He said he’s not spending enough.
“It’s pretty much the same as going out and practicing,” he said. “I’m practicing building setups and trying to get as much experience as I can on the sim.”
But he’s had to take breaks and take final exams. School isn’t done for the year yet.
“I would much rather win a race and go back to the shop and celebrate (than study),” he said. “We have a thing where we have to give (the crew) donuts after we win. They said, ‘You got to come to the shop and bring donuts.’ I said, ‘Boys, I’ve got to work on finals. We’ll cover it the next race and you get two sets of donuts.'”
Hocevar is still waiting to find out when his next race will be, but between trucks and the late model race he just won, he’s got a busy summer planned.