Carson Hocevar had come so close to claiming his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series win so many times, but he had been kept off the winning lane until Saturday’s SpeedyCash.com 250 at Texas Motor Speedway.
But on the final lap of Saturday’s race, opportunity knocked and the 20-year-old racer opened the door.
Stealing victory from Hocevar became possible when Nick Sanchez, the day’s dominant driver, took the lead after a nasty side move from Zane Smith on the final lap of the race. The lateral draft sent Sanchez sideways where the right tires of the #2 Chevrolet Silverado dipped into the dirt and grass of the front stretch.
Sanchez would slide back in front of Hocevar, who was on the gas. The two would make contact, which would result in Sanchez clipping into Smith on the outside lane. Christian Eckes would also move up while Hocevar sped away to victory.
Video: Nick Sanchez, Zane Smith involved in last lap crash while fighting for victory in Texas
After his first career win, Hocevar felt responsible for the crash on the last lap.
“I’m just excited. I didn’t want to get in [Sanchez], obviously,” Hocevar explained. “I just wanted to give him a nudge and they were sideways. The second I hit him, he was gone. I apologize for them. For that I accept the fall, I crashed a Chevy.”
Hocevar concedes that Sanchez should have been the winner of Saturday’s race, but victory after only leading on the last lap felt like a vindication for Hocevar, who had lost so many past races that he had dominated.
“He definitely deserved the win,” Hocevar said of Sanchez. “but from all the times we’ve been the fastest car and I don’t win, and this team doesn’t win and they deserve to win. More than anything, I can finally stop getting the same question I’ve been asked so many times. We didn’t deserve the win today, we were just in the right place at the right time.”
With three of the top 4 trucks crashing on the final lap, Chase Purdy dodged the chaos to finish second for a career-best result.
Stewart Friesen crept into third place, Ty Majeski finished fourth and Jake Garcia was fifth in the race.
Fifth place was Garcia’s first-ever finish in the top five in a NASCAR Truck Series competition.
Hailie Deegan, Corey Heim, Ryan Vargas, Jack Wood and Ben Rhodes rounded out the top 10 finishers in the SpeedyCash.com 250.
RELATED: Race Results – NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series SpeedyCash.com 250 in Texas
Deegan, her sixth place tied her best career result. Vargas and Wood also achieved their respective career-best finishes in the race.
Sanchez, who was the leader for 168 laps in the 172-lap event, would be credited with a 16th place finish, while Eckes and Smith would finish 15th and 14th, respectively.
The race was marred by a scary crash on lap 145 of the race involving Dean Thompson, Matt Mills, Armani Williams and Trey Hutchens.
Thompson, spinning in front of the oncoming field, was tagged by Mills on the passenger door. The contact sent Thompson slightly airborne and caused his #5 truck to spin wildly. Thompson would pick Williams and Hutchens up after that first contact.
Thompson, 21, was evaluated at the Infield Care Center and later taken to a local hospital for further evaluation. Everyone else involved in the accident escaped unharmed.
Dean Thompson was taken to a local hospital for further evaluation after a vicious accident in Texas