ANDERSON, Ind. – Same car, different driver, same result.
Carson Hocevar put the familiar VanDoorn Racing colors into victory lane during Monday’s running of the ARCA/CRA Super Series Redbud 400 at Anderson Speedway.
A year ago it was Johnny VanDoorn driving to victory at Anderson Speedway, but this year VanDoorn sat the event out to spend time with his newborn daughter and wife.
Hocevar survived a battle for the first 200 laps with Casey Johnson before taking control of the 54th running of the super late model classic.
Hocevar led the final 175 laps in winning by .535 seconds over a closing Josh Brock, with Sammy Smith, Johnson and Jack Dossey III rounding out the top five.
It was the fourth Redbud 400 victory for VanDoorn Racing.
“The car got really loose at the end,” Hocevar said in the Star Financial Winner’s Circle. “I thought I was going to give it away.
“I was blessed to fill in for Johnny (VanDoorn) in my first Redbud.”
Hocevar said the outside line was the place to be on the restarts and on long runs you have to be on the inside.
“I was trying,” Brock said of his late run. “I could close the gap, but couldn’t get a good run.”
With Hocevar pulling away, the best battle on the race track a three car battle for second between Brock, Johnson and Smith.
Brock grabbed the second spot from Johnson on lap 225, but was unable to close on Hocevar. After Hocevar built up a six second lead the caution flag waved on lap 344 for a spin by Dalton Armstrong.
On the restart Hocevar again pulled away from the field.
In an unusual sight on the high banked quarter-mile oval, the race leader was opting to take the outside line on restarts and in most instances was able to hold onto the point.
The leaders all made their final pit stop for left side tires on lap 294 when the eighth caution flag waved and Hocevar was once again able to pull away from the field.
Wisconsin driver Johnson set fast time during qualifications and decided to start on the outside of the front row.
From that spot he maintained the lead through several restarts while being challenged by Hocevar and Stephen Nasse.
Hocevar, who was constantly looking to make an inside move on Johnson, was finally able to make the pass for the point on lap 121 coming off the second turn.
He started to pull away from the field when the caution flag waved on lap 150 for an incident involving Eddie VanMeter and Rick Turner.
Hocevar took a page from Johnson and elected to come to the restarts from the high groove.
Johnson reclaimed the lead on lap 178 with an inside pass entering turn one on a retart.
All the leaders pitted on lap 213, mostly for right side tires, during a caution period when Turner and Brandon Oakley tangled on the back straight.
Carson Hocevar, Josh Brock, Sammy Smith, Casey Johnson, Jack Dossey III, Dalton Armstrong, Hunter Jack, Stephen Nasse, Dan Leeck, Cody Coughlin, Mason Keller, Greg VanAlst, Jaren Crabtree, Jeff Marcum, Brett Robinson, Austin Nason, Steve Dorer, Brandon Oakley, Rick Turner, Logan Runyon, Eddie VanMeter, Austin Thom