Livescore Thursday, April 25
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Will Ross Chastain return soon to front-pack form?

Well, he finished top-10 in the first two stages Sunday at St. Louis, and along the way he broadsided Michael McDowell — some would suggest that puts Ross the Boss smack-dab in the middle of his Happy Place.

But issues landed him outside the top 20 for the third straight week (along the way, he was 11th in the 24-car All Star Race), and it’s smelling similar to last year’s funk.

In the midst of it all last summer, Ross got some payback from Denny Hamlin at Pocono and that triggered a seven-week run where he finished inside the top 20 just once, and that was an 18th.

He’s been good at Sonoma the past couple of years, but at road courses overall, he’s hit-and-miss — good at a few, bad at a few. Much of the negative attention has been grabbed by others recently, so maybe he can low-key his way toward the front.

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Carson Hocevar? Where’d he come from?

If you only pay attention to racing on Sundays, Hocevar entered last weekend as a perfect stranger. But by Sunday evening, he might’ve turned in the most head-turning last-place finish in history.

Subbing in the No. 7 for Corey LaJoie, who was subbing for Chase Elliott in the No. 9, Hocevar started 26th and was running 16th in lower-tier equipment before joining the race’s Broken Brake Rotor Society.

We’ll see more of him, and not just because of this one Sunday. He’s had two top-10s in three Xfinity starts this year, while posting a win and five top-5s in 12 Truck Series starts.

He’s just 20, and during his early racing days in Michigan, he was mentored heavily by former NASCAR racer Johnny Benson.

What do you expect from Chase Elliott this week?

Given how the racing gods enjoy a laugh and just love drama, regardless of where Chase is racing at Sonoma, you just know he’ll find himself next to Denny Hamlin at some point.

Chase has been NASCAR’s King of the Road over the past several seasons, but Tyler Reddick has been girding for a coup, and maybe he makes it official this week.

At a road course, you obviously need two healthy legs (a third foot would help at times, actually), and Chase might not be back up to snuff physically. How he reacts to returning from a one-race suspension is another matter — you’d think he’s ready to come flying off the truck, except he’s a low-octane personality.

All of that is a long way to go in order to say this: “We’ll see.”

This article originally appeared on The Daytona Beach News-Journal: NASCAR: Ross Chastain off, Chase Elliott is in, Carson Hocevar arrives

Read the full article here

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