CONCORD, N.C – Ross Chastain prevailed on Friday night in the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway after a double overtime restart battle against John Hunter Nemechek, Christian Eckes and Grant Enfinger.
Chastain only led four laps, but it was enough to take the win after a strong push from Enfinger to get by Nemechek on the backstretch. Just before the final pass, Chastain, Nemechek and Eckes were three-wide as they barreled into Turn 1 for the final time.
With the win, Chastain now has a total of four career wins in the series, collecting his first since his breakout season in 2019. The victory is also Chastain’s third on the season when combined with his recent NASCAR Cup Series success, winner at Circuit of the Americas and Talladega Superspeedway already in 2022.
Up until a late race caution bunched the field for NASCAR Overtime, it looked to be a magical evening for Carson Hocevar. Hocevar took the lead to kick off the final stage after catching and passing Ryan Preece at lap 72.
From there, Hocevar went on to lead the most laps on the night, 57 total, and looked to be heading towards his first career victory before a caution sent the race into NASCAR Overtime.
On that fateful restart, Hocevar raced side-by-side with Preece as the field barreled into Turn 3. With a shove from Chastain, Hocevar tried to hold it low and couldn’t , sliding into Preece and taking them both out of the running for the win.
“A dumb ass move by myself,” Hocevar said when asked what went wrong. “I just tried really hard, I tried too hard, I didn’t get a good restart, and just tried too hard. I tried to wash him up and I just crashed myself… it’s all I ever wanted to do, but I’m sure as hell going to eat watermelon in victory lane though.”
Meanwhile, Preece was also emotional, but more of an angry tone. “That restart, (Hocevar) and I drove side-by-side,” Preece explained after exiting his truck. “All you kids watching right now, wanting to get to this level, don’t do that. Race with respect, don’t wreck they guy on the outside of you trying to win your first race, it doesn’t get you anywhere.”
While Hocevar battles full-time in the series, Preece is running a limited schedule across all three of the top level series, competing in all three major NASCAR races this weekend. “If I don’t run good, I don’t make a lot of money,” Preece said.
As the series leaves Charlotte, Nemechek will take with him the points lead by only a total of seven points over Ben Rhodes. The next race up for the series is next weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway.
NC Education Lottery 200 Top 10 Results
- #41 Ross Chastain
- #98 Grant Enfinger
- #4 John Hunter Nemechek
- #98 Christian Eckes
- #38 Zane Smith
- #15 Tanner Gray
- #51 Kyle Busch
- #18 Chandler Smith
- #52 Stewart Freisen
- #99 Ben Rhodes
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