Late Model winner of Gateway Nationals could receive NASCAR Truck Series ride

Carson Hocevar in a Niece Motorsports truck at Knoxville in 2021(Photo: Getty Images)

This weekend will see the three-day Castrol Gateway Dirt Nationals play out in The Dome of the America’s located in St. Louis, Missouri. This will be the fifth running of the event held in the former home of the NFL’s St. Louis Rams before that franchise moved back to Los Angeles. The Thursday and Friday night Late Model shows will pay out $5,000 each to the victor while Saturday’s main event will award the winner a hefty $30,000 first prize.

But on Wednesday evening, a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team announced that there could be an even bigger prize on the line for Saturday night’s feature winner. Niece Motorsports posted, through their @NieceMotorsports Twitter account, that they will offer that driver a ride in one of their Chevrolet trucks in the 2022 race at the Knoxville(IA) Raceway.

Niece Motorsports has been a regular on the NCWTS since 2017 and has fielded machines for drivers such as Ross Chastain, Ty Majewski, Carson Hocevar and Ryan Truex. Chastain won three races for the organization in 2019 and finished second in the final series standings that year. Hocevar earned three top-5 and eight top-10 finishes in 2021 on his way to a 10th place finish in the final standings while Truex was 16th overall after posting two top-5s and three top-10s in the most recent campaign.

Kyle Larson drove a Niece Motorsports truck in the dirt race held at Bristol Motor Speedway finishing 35th after crashing.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series raced at the Knoxville Raceway for the first time in 2021 with Austin Hill picking up the win.

The 2022 “NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race at Knoxville” is scheduled to roll off on Saturday night, June 18th. It should be mentioned that the winning driver’s availability for the truck race could be hampered by his regular Dirt Late Model commitments. On that same night, the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series will be contesting a $50,000-to-win event at the Smoky Mountain Speedway in Maryville, Tennessee while the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series will be in action for a $20,000-to-win affair at the Orange County Fair Speedway in Middletown, New York.

Obviously, a driver competing in one of the Late Model races mentioned above would not be able to accept the offer.

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This year’s Gateway Nationals marks the first time the event has been held since 2019 due to a pandemic-related break in 2020. Scott Bloomquist won the first Gateway Nationals main event in 2016 then Bobby Pierce took the next two checkered flags in 2017 and 2018. Tyler Carpenter was the champion in 2019.

The popular NASCAR-based website Jayski.com has Niece Motorsports listed as a four-truck operation for the 2022 season with Hocevar, Dean Thompson and Lawless Alan listed as full-time drivers the the No. 42, No. 44, and No. 45 trucks respectively. The company’s No. 40 machine does not have a full-time pilot listed.

The Gateway Nationals will be aired live by FloRacing.com.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association

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