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Carson Hocevar entered the NASCAR Truck Series Championship 4 race at Phoenix as a favorite, and justifiably so after winning three times in the last 10 races, including a win at Homestead the last time out that locked him into the title race. 

Unfortunately, the 20-year-old driver was a main topic of conversation after the race, not for his success but for wrecking fellow title contender Corey Heim late in the desert. Moments after that incident, social media lit up with people critical of the move, including one Cup Series driver. What makes it all even more intriguing is it happened just days after Dale Earnhardt Jr. warned the young driver about his aggressive on-track actions.

Carson Hocevar wrecks Corey Heim in Phoenix

Carson Hocevar was on a different tire strategy than the three other championship-contending drivers and found himself in front of them late in the race with 35 laps to go. Corey Heim, who drove the dominant truck and had led for much of the race but had fallen back on the last pit stop, was moving forward.

Once the TRICON Garage driver passed the No. 42 truck with 32 laps remaining, he appeared destined for the Truck Series championship. However, that all changed on the next lap when Hocevar dove in underneath the No. 11 truck heading into Turn 1, got into the left rear, and sent it for a spin, where it also took out the No. 52 truck. 

Moments later, Hocevar’s in-car camera showed the distraught driver slamming his steering wheel with his fists.

“I did not mean to do that,” he said over the team radio. “F***! I thought he was going to drive in deep. That’s so stupid of me. I thought he was going to drive in so deep and then he made the corner.”

Tyler Reddick rips Hocevar

That move by Hocevar changed the whole dynamic of the race and shocked everyone watching, including fellow NASCAR competitors. 

“Unbelievable,” Xfinity Series driver and 2018 Truck Series champ Brett Moffitt said on X (formerly Twitter). 

Tyler Reddick was less diplomatic. 

“This dumbass will never learn,” the 23XI Racing driver wrote on X. His boss, Denny Hamlin, reposted the remark.  

Dale Earnhardt Jr. warned driver about ‘hard lessons’ in Cup Series

Interestingly, Reddick’s remarks on Hocevar’s aggressive move at Phoenix came just days after Dale Earnhardt Jr. called out the Niece Motorsports driver during the Cup Series race at Martinsville. In that race, the young driver intentionally wrecked Ty Gibbs. The NBC broadcaster broke down what happened and then offered his opinion. 

“Ty Gibbs maybe moves him out of the way right here,” Earnhardt said, referring to Gibbs making contact with the No. 42 car driven by Hocevar. “Pretty simple. Martinsville racing.” 

“Now we’re going to go down into Turn 1. Hocevar is going to go into the back and watch this. I’mma hook you,” Junior continued as the No. 42 made an abrupt turn to the right into the left rear of the No. 54 car, which went for a spin. 

“And we know that Hocevar has a habit of doing that,” he said. “I think he’s trying to work on it, but when you come to the Cup Series and do that, you’re gonna get some hard lessons from these guys. Because there’s not a lot of people going to stand up to you in the Truck Series or Xfinity Series, but this Cup Series is a little bit different.”

Heim stood up to Hocevar and retaliated with three laps remaining, running the No. 42 into the wall and ending his Truck Series career on a sour note with a 29th-place finish. And now the young driver gets to think about what happened in Phoenix for the entire offseason and decide whether he wants to make a change before next year, where more hard lessons await.  

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