Carson Hocevar won at Berlin Raceway earlier this season; now NASCAR says he`s too young to race
Earlier this season, Carson Hocevar, 13, won a Super Late Model race. He is believed to be the youngest Late Model race-winner in the history of Berlin Raceway in Marne, Michigan.
However, according to the track president, once NASCAR got wind of the victory, they sat Hocevar down.
Berlin Raceway became sanctioned by NASCAR last year, and with that sanctioning, came the mandate to abide by NASCAR`s rules. One of those rules is that a driver has to be 14 to compete.
Track president Mike Bursley told Mlive.com that he and other race organizers knew about NASCAR`s rules regarding drivers under the age of 14, but that he thought they had worked out a solution with the governing body.
"Even before we became NASCAR-sanctioned here, we had that discussion with NASCAR Home Tracks because we had three drivers who were all under the age of 14, and they said it wasn`t a problem as long as we carried a separate insurance policy on the kids," Bursley told Mlive. "But what sparked it was Carson`s win a couple of weeks ago. It kind of went national, and it went up the ladder and raised red flags to those guys, and they pulled the plug on them this week. We tried really, really hard to work with them."
For its part, NASCAR released a statement saying there had been a "miscommunication" between the racing association and the track.
"There was an unfortunate miscommunication in conversations between NASCAR and Berlin Raceway that recently came to light and has now been corrected," the statement said. "NASCAR regrets the misunderstanding, but also recognizes that this is an important matter for all involved. NASCAR is taking additional steps to insure that there is no ambiguity regarding age limits with any NASCAR Whelen All-American Series tracks moving forward."
Regardless of the statement, Bursley insists there was no misunderstanding.
"If there was any miscommunication, it wasn`t on our part," the track president said. "We have email trials that acknowledged it, and they were 100 percent aware of everything. There was no miscommunication. NASCAR was well aware of what was going on."
As it stands now, though, it appears NASCAR isn`t going to budge, and Hocevar will have to sit out the rest of the season (which runs four more races through the month of August). He`ll turn 14 in January and be ready to race next season.
"My biggest goal is to be in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, but I still have to climb my way there," Hocevar said. "Luckily, I have a great group of Berlin supporters, fans and (his team) KBR Development."
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