One of the most controversial, yet exciting NASCAR prospects is Carson Hocevar. Hocevar wowed with four Truck Series wins and some solid outings in the Cup Series with Legacy Motor Club and Spire Motorsports. However, he has gotten himself into hot water due to actions on track, most recently wrecking Championship contender Corey Heim on the closing laps at Phoenix. Hocevar has a lot to prove in 2024.
Can He Keep Emotions in Check
Carson Hocevar at times this year showed that he could be a bit impulsive. This oftentimes ended up in Hocevar wrecking other drivers. Early in the season, Hocevar was parked for two laps by NASCAR for attempting to wreck Taylor Gray.
Hocevar also wrecked Nick Sanchez late in the race at Texas to earn his first win. Hocevar also got into Ty Gibbs at Martinsville in a Cup Series race later in the season, which puzzled many NASCAR fans. He also got into it with Corey Heim at Phoenix, and, after the initial wreck, he was so distraught that he fell completely out of contention.
NASCAR Cup Series races are long, and seasons are long. If Hocevar continues to get into multiple drivers throughout the season, and he fails to keep his emotions in check, he will get into a lot of trouble. Just ask Ross Chastain how badly a reputation could suffer if you keep wrecking competitors.
It’s important for drivers as races go on to take deep breaths and keep their emotions in check. When racing aggressively for a win, a driver still needs to remain calm and calculated enough behind the wheel to execute in a way that does not hurt their reputation. Hocevar gets to somewhat start over by moving up to Cup in 2024, so, this is an opportunity for him to learn those lessons.
Can He Refine His Raw Talent to Partner With His Raw Speed
One thing is for certain about Carson Hocevar, he has raw talent and raw speed. His performance across all levels of the sport this year shows that. However, raw talent still needs to be refined be years of experience and race craft.
A lot of the incidents that were mentioned above could be down to Hocevar just pushing it a little too hard at the wrong time. It is also worth noting that Hocevar had 9 DNFs this season across 37 races. That is a lot of wrecked race cars.
Now, big race teams can handle the occasional wrecked race car for an aggressive driver as long as they win races. Kyle Larson this year is a great example of this as he had 8 DNFs despite nearly winning the Championship. Hocevar needs to learn when and where to push and how to manage an entire Cup Series race.
The races are much longer at the Cup level, with most being twice as long as the average Truck Series race. In order to be successful at the Cup level, Hocevar needs to learn how to be patient and race smart for a full race. As time goes on, and as he develops, the wins will come and he will earn the respect of his competitors. The talent and the speed are obviously there, but it needs to be refined.
Will Carson Hocevar be able to prove his worth in the Cup Series in 2024? We will have to find out once the green flag drops at Daytona in February.