New driver, same result.
The No. 71 T.K. Racing Chevrolet emerged victorious in the Redbud 400 at Anderson Speedway for a second consecutive season, but this time with Carson Hocevar behind the wheel of the VanDoorn Development Chassis.
Johnny VanDoorn had expected to defend his crown on Monday night but the birth of daughter Alison Scott Vandoorn over the weekend took precedence.
The VanDoorns knew immediately that they wanted Hocevar in the car and he validated their selection with a dominating performance in one of the most prestigious midwestern Super Late Model events. Hocevar led the final 175 laps, and 238 overall, winning the Redbud 400 in a similar fashion as VanDoorn himself a year ago.
Hocevar knew it, too.
Just before the final restart with 50 to go, Hocevar told spotter Branden Lines and crew chief Butch VanDoorn that he was winning the race.
He backed it up.
“It was a really good car and it makes a lot of sense why Johnny is so hard to beat here,” Hocevar said. “I’m glad to not race against him and to be racing his car. Blessed to have this opportunity.”
If there was any pressure in taking the car that dominated the 2019 Redbud and driving it one year later, Hocevar didn’t show it.
“None at all,” Hocevar said. “I have confidence in my ability in a Super Late Model race when I’m in a car capable of winning. It’s on me if I didn’t get the job done.”
While the race was never truly in doubt, it was an open question inside the final 10 laps, as Hocevar got trapped behind Cody Coughlin at the tail end on the lead lap and Jeff Marcum several laps down.
Josh Brock got to within a car length of Hocevar but could never even attempt a pass over the final five laps.
“Cody backed off in Turn 3 and let me go by, and he didn’t have to do that, so I really appreciated it,” Hocevar said.
Ultimately, for Brock, he felt no shame in losing to that No. 71 car — regardless of the driver.
“This was actually our backup car, we worked our butts off with brake pads and refurbishing because it was set up for Jennerstown last weekend,” Brock said. “We’ve always been good at Anderson. They was the dominant car no doubt about it.
“I don’t know if I could have passed ‘em, but maybe I could have got a bumper to them.
“Congrats to them because they’re a great team no matter who drivers the car. There’s been a lot of people over the years chasing the No. 71 in the CRA Super Series, so congratulation to them. I’m proud of my team for a good night.”
Driving the Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 51, Sammy Smith enjoyed one of his better overall nights of the summer with a third-place finish.
“We’ve been struggling this summer, but the past three races, we’ve started to find some things,” Smith said. “We’re getting back to where we need to be. We struggled for the first 200 laps. We weren’t where we needed to be, didn’t have that fire off speed and were running ninth.
“Once the sun went down, that’s when the car was the best. I think we were definitely a top-three car. We didn’t have anything for the No. 71 though.”
For the second year in a row, no one did, and it netted Hocevar his first marquee Super Late Model win, following several weekly victories back home at Berlin Raceway and the CRA season opener at I-44 Raceway in Lebanon, Missouri in May.
“Until this year, I had never won a Super race besides our local stuff at Berlin,” Hocevar said. “When you’re expected to win, and you don’t, you get hard on yourself. There comes a certain point where you can’t point to the race car.
“To come home with two wins in our first four races this season, and our first crown jewel, it’s spectacular.”
- Carson Hocevar
- Josh Brock
- Sammy Smith
- Casey Johnson
- Jack Dossey III
- Dalton Armstrong
- Hunter Jack
- Stephen Nasse
- Dan Leeck
- Cody Coughlin
- Mason Keller
- Greg Van Alst
- Jaren Crabtree
- Jeff Marcum
- Brett Robinson
- Austin Nason
- Steve Dorer
- Brandon Oakley
- Rick Turner
- Logan Runyon
- Eddie Van Meter
- Austin Thom