The following article is a guest article exclusive to The Racing Experts from Christopher Leone, iRacing.com’s Marketing and Communications Manager. The cover photo is from Speed51.com.
Carson Hocevar took the checkered flag in Saturday night’s Speed51 Elite Pro-Am Jam, as the Speed51 Elite Truck Series schedule welcomed a mix of professional drivers to take on top sim racers in a full-length race from Atlanta Motor Speedway. Hocevar held off fellow ARCA Menards Series driver and in-race teammate Corey Heim to take the checkered flag in the 120-lap event.
Saturday night’s race quickly attracted major names, with an entry list of more than 50 drivers that included a surprise appearance from Dale Earnhardt Jr. and many of America’s top short track racers. The top 32 trucks qualified on time, while 11 more had to advance to the race through a last chance qualifier.
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Join us at Noon as our Pro-Am Jam continues in Cup Cars at Atlanta.
— Speed51 (@speed51dotcom) March 15, 2020
ACT Late Model Tour front-runner and Kulwicki Driver Development Program member Ryan Kuhn won the first stage of the race, while Hocevar took the second. Incidents ended the days of some of the top pros early, with Earnhardt Jr., Christian Eckes, Ryan Vargas, and Kevin Hamlin among the names that fell out of contention early.
In the closing laps, the four-truck train of Hocevar, Heim, Kuhn, and Chad Frankenfield were clear enough of the field to settle the race among themselves before an accident with two laps remaining ended the race under caution.
“There wasn’t really much of a strategy,” Hocevar admitted. “Just me, Corey, Ty Gibbs, Connor Hall, and Christian Eckes were on TeamSpeak together, and Corey and I were up front so we were able to control the restarts a lot, and we were able to control track position at the end. It was fun—we were joking around throughout the race and having fun.
“The first stage caught me for a loop. I burned my stuff up a lot, so we made sure not to do that again for the last stage. It ended up real good, and we finished up 1-2!”
Was a blast on @iRacing tonight with @speed51dotcom and @EliteRacing_! Took home the win but had helluva time more then anything with @CoreyHeim3 @connorhallweb @RickSpring51 @TyGibbs_ https://t.co/N1dGC3G2Q6
— Carson Hocevar (@CarsonHocevar) March 15, 2020
“That was definitely an interesting race,” Heim added. “With official races on iRacing being only 40 laps, having a long distance race was a lot of fun there. Me and Carson were working together the whole time, playing similar strategies and seeing what we could do to help each other there.
“In the closing laps, we knew the other two (trucks) were going to be really good, so I was trying to stay behind him and bide my time until the last few laps. Without a green-white-checkered, it was going to be hard to predict when a caution came out if it did, and unfortunately it kind of bit us there. But all in all, it was a fun race!”
The top 10 finishers from Saturday night’s Speed51 Elite Pro-Am Jam were as follows:
- #40 Carson Hocevar
- #25 Corey Heim
- #72 Ryan Kuhn
- #15 Chad Frankenfield
- #22 Justin Bonsignore
- #77 Connor Hall
- #32 Dustin Duerr
- #28 Jared Rexing
- #16 Joshua Personette
- #3 Scot Haney
The Elite Racing League will return to action on Sunday at noon ET/9AM PT with a half-length race featuring NASCAR Cup Series cars at Atlanta. The race will stream live once again on Speed51.