Seven days after suffering an ankle injury in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, Carson Hocevar intends to run Saturday’s Sonoma Raceway event, though he has a backup plan in case things do not work out. On Wednesday, Hocevar announced his hope to race at Sonoma but added Daniel Suárez will be on standby should his injury prevent him from completing the event in the #42 Niece Motorsports Silverado.
“I’m feeling better every day and I’m looking forward to being behind the wheel of the No. 42 Worldwide Express Chevrolet this weekend,” begins a statement Hocevar posted on social media. “I’m thankful for Daniel Suárez’s willingness to step up this weekend for our No. 42 team. None of this is possible without the great partnership Niece Motorsports has formed with Worldwide Express and Trackhouse Racing.”
If Hocevar starts the race but cannot complete it due to his ailments, Suárez would take over the #42 during a pit stop, though points earned by the latter would go towards Hocevar’s total. Should he not be able to start at all, Suárez cannot receive points for Hocevar nor himself as he declared for the Cup Series championship. As such, the former strategy will likely be employed by the #42 team to maximise Hocevar’s points winnings, though he can receive an injury waiver from NASCAR to make the playoffs if he would otherwise be eligible.
Hocevar hurt his ankle when he was impacted by Tyler Hill on the final lap at Gateway; although he was able to walk to the ambulance under his own power, the pain was enough to merit hospitalisation. He did not disclose the specifics of the injury beyond the region affected. Save for a brief statement on Sunday, he remained mum on his status for the next few days as he awaited evaluation.
“I didn’t know anything at time, there was a lot of different doctors and a lot of traveling from state to state,” he explained on Reddit, in response to fan concern about his injury potentially being worse than thought. “A lot of info getting withheld from me even to not work myself up. Appreciate the kind words and sorry if anyone might have speculated and assumed the worst. Only today have I been finally cleared. Never had to experience anything like this before and hope to not do it again, very lucky it wasn’t worse as docs assume but certainly not great”.
Suárez made twenty-seven Truck starts in the Toyota programme from 2014 to 2016 during his ascension through NASCAR’s ladder. Since graduating to the Cup Series in 2017, his lone Truck race came at the inaugural Bristol Dirt Race in 2021, where he finished seventeenth for Young’s Motorsports.
In four career Cup starts at Sonoma, Suárez’s best finish is twelfth in 2021 with top twenties in every race. He also placed fourth in a one-off at the road course in what is now the ARCA Menards Series West in 2018.
“I’m happy to help out Carson and the Niece Motorsports #42 team this weekend,” said Suárez. “I hope Carson is on his way back to feeling 100 percent. I hope he can go out and give Worldwide Express a good show. If they need me in relief, I’ll do my best to get them a good finish.”
Besides a mutual sponsor in Worldwide Express, Trackhouse driver Ross Chastain regularly returns to the Trucks with Niece after nearly winning the championship with the team in 2019.
“We are fans of Carson and what he has done during this season,” added Trackhouse owner Justin Marks. “We are also very aware of the importance of Niece Motorsports to Ross Chastain and the relationship they have built over the years. Add in the commonality of a sponsor like Worldwide Express, who is committed to both Niece and Trackhouse, and we were very happy to help this weekend in Sonoma. If necessary, Daniel will do a great job in representing Trackhouse, Niece, WWEX and Chevrolet while Carson recovers and gets prepared for a championship run later this season.”