Race Weekend Central

Truckin’ Thursdays: More Drivers Vocal About Lack of Respect

Aggressiveness or recklessness?

There’s a fine line between these two terms, and crossing it can result in unpleasant results. In the Craftsman Truck Series, it seems the line has been crossed more than once.

It’s no secret that the Truck Series’ aggression level has only risen with the amount of young stars that climb their way through the ranks of NASCAR with the eventual goal of racing on Sundays.

Almost gone are the days of drivers making careers in the Truck Series such as Ron Hornaday Jr., Jack Sprague, and Johnny Sauter. Only a few of those drivers remain, such as Matt Crafton, Grant Enfinger and Ben Rhodes.

Drivers have already been vocal about the racing in the Truck Series, but usually it’d be a few drivers here and there that would speak out, and for about a year-long span it was about one driver in particular: Carson Hocevar.

Hocevar’s on-track aggression has been well-documented among drivers and fans, from intentionally wrecking another driver to intentionally spinning himself out to bring out a caution.

His first career win at Texas Motor Speedway earlier this year seemed to quiet the haters, though not completely, as some people believed he ran right through the already-sideways Nick Sanchez, wrecking the top three to win the race.

He just got his second career win at Nashville Superspeedway on June 23, and ever since that race, talk of “dirty racing” out of the No. 42 has since been relatively non-existent.

That’s only because the aggression from everyone else in the Truck Series has allegedly gotten worse.

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The most recent Truck Series race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course left several drivers upset with someone. Even still, drivers were criticizing the series as a whole.

Colby Howard saw his day end early at Mid-Ohio, and despite a run-in with Hocevar, whom Howard admits he isn’t a huge fan of, he also said that the Truck Series has “a lot of idiots out there” and expected the next race at Pocono Raceway to be chaotic.

Meanwhile, Will Rodgers had a run-in with Austin Wayne Self that resulted on Self intentionally crashing Rodgers into the tire barrier, ending his day.

Rodgers, who runs races sporadically with different one-off sponsors, said he hoped to find a long-term sponsor, but would prefer one that would allow him to run more Xfinity Series races because the Truck Series “is a shitshow.”

Ryan Vargas also echoed sentiments of poor driving after the race, telling TobyChristie.com that there are drivers under 18 years of age who aren’t capable of racing cleanly.

“There is no respect at all,” Vargas said. “We tore up a perfectly good race truck because guys don’t know how to drive their car straight.”

In the same article, Spencer Boyd said that drivers use road courses as chances at retaliation.

“The racing in general can be more aggressive, so you start seeing those wrecks,” said Boyd.

After the race, reporters witnessed an irate Crafton march up to teammate Rhodes and get in his face, grabbing his firesuit to express his displeasure over an incident that happened on-track.

The incident in question wasn’t quite clear, but Rhodes still took responsibility for his actions, which included contact with other teammate Ty Majeski that took both drivers all but out of contention for the win.

All these comments are just the tip of the iceberg, as several drivers have complained about the series and its different drivers that have wronged them.

Lawless Alan called out Hailie Deegan at Nashville after Deegan lost control underneath him on lap 1 and caused him to spin into the No. 51 of Jack Wood, causing major damage to both trucks.

It was Alan’s second time having issues with Deegan, as the two were involved in an incident last year at Martinsville Speedway that resulted in a heated conversation between the two.

Back at World Wide Technology Raceway, Zane Smith, defending champion of the series, expressed regret over returning to the Truck Series for another season after he crashed with Majeski while battling for the lead.

And at North Wilkesboro Speedway, Dean Thompson emerged from the infield care center after being wrecked by Deegan and said that the series was filled with some of the dirtiest drivers he’s ever raced with.

So if everyone has the same problem, then why isn’t anything being done about it? Has NASCAR stepped in to take care of this issue?

If it has, then it hasn’t done enough of a job to address it.

This isn’t the ARCA Menards Series East or West, where the schedule consists of short tracks and road courses, where paybacks can be done at lower speeds. The Truck Series races on superspeedways and fast mile-and-a-halfs.

The aggressive nature of the Truck Series could end up getting someone hurt. It could give drivers who eventually move up a rude awakening to the Xfinity or Cup Series, where the level of respect is higher, even if by just a little bit.

The easy solution would be for everyone to just race a lot smarter if everyone’s complaining about the respect. But trying to get 36 drivers on the same page might be tough without intervention from NASCAR.

About the author

Anthony Damcott joined Frontstretch in March 2022. Currently, he is an editor and co-authors Fire on Fridays (Fridays); he is also the primary Truck Series reporter/writer. A proud West Virginia Wesleyan College alum from Akron, Ohio, Anthony is now a grad student. He is a theatre actor and fight-choreographer-in-training in his free time. He is a loyal fan of the Cincinnati Reds and Carolina Panthers, still hopeful for a championship at some point in his lifetime.

You can keep up with Anthony by following @AnthonyDamcott on Twitter.

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Dawg

With the Truck series being the first rung on the Cup ladder.
And with the goal of almost everyone in the series being to climb that ladder. I wonder how much “respect” drivers can look forward to?

If it get’s too far out of hand, there’s always self policing.

Shayne

These kids have been raised to race. High expectations and a tremendous amount of pressure to win races doesn’t bode well with a lack of maturity and life experience. Unleashing these young brands to make nice on the track isn’t going to happen.

When things don’t work out, watch out. If positive attention isn’t given, they’ll act out for some negative attention. It’s not their fault. They were raised that way.

Gone are the days of the blue collar driver. Maturity and experience have been replaced with cash. Unfortunately, money can’t buy what these drivers need.

Kurt Smith

When you rearrange the points system so that only winning matters, you’re going to get drivers being aggressive and taking chances. Why would anyone be surprised at that? It’s happening in all of the series. It’s not that there’s too many young guys. It’s the championship system.

Steve

Add in the fact that these kids don’t have to go back to the shop and fix the cars/trucks themselves, it adds another layer to the whole thing. Sadly, Nascar will do nothing to police this. It’s good for ratings and ratings means $$$$$. You know how much they love their “Game 7 moments”

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