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Ask about fan appeasement and drivers in the running for the All-Star race entry will tell you all about it! And especially, Carson Hocevar, who’s pulling no stops with his aggressive and creative campaigning. And this time, in his line of fire, is Stewart-Haas racing driver, Noah Gragson.

Gragson’s fans got the fright of their lives when the All-Star Race entry list deemed him ineligible. Fortunately, that error got cleared up soon, restoring hopes of those eager to see their favorite driver’s return to the race at North Wilkesboro. But without getting through based on track performance, the #10 Stewart-Haas Racing driver has tough competition in the fan vote as Hocevar continues to trade jabs at him.

Carson Hocevar’s pitch backfires

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For Carson Hocevar, a lot is on the line ahead of the All-Star race. With Spire Motorsport’s challenger falling short of the rest as of late, Noah Gragson and Co may have the upper hand on raw pace. This naturally left Hocevar with one choice only: Go all out for the fan vote to ensure his presence on the grid. And that’s precisely what he did. If the Cameo videos from other drivers weren’t enough to plead his case, Hocevar advised that he should be given votes by the fans since he’s the tallest.

The racer appeared on the Dale Jr Download podcast and delivered a pitch that highlighted his 6’4” stature in comparison to the competition. Hocevar’s logic was fans should vote for the #77 Spire Motorsports driver since everyone has to look up to him. But Noah Gragson wasn’t going to let the opportunity of winning a million dollars slip away, owing to his height.

Before the Spire racer could get away with another witty campaign, Noah Gragson flipped the script on the Dale Jr Download. He stated, “I’m Noah Gragson, I’m from Las Vegas Nevada, proud American, and I’m an average human. I’m 5’8, and I relate to a lot of Americans out there, a lot of people in this country. Everybody wants to be 6 foot but not everybody can relate to a 6 foot guy.” Shutting down Hocevar’s pitch immediately, the SHR driver chose to earn the majority’s (who certainly aren’t above 6’4) vote by coming off as relatable.

Gragson revealed that his height is 5’8”, a stark contrast to Hocevar. But adding to that, the SHR driver also shared some of his interests and how he’s a fun-loving individual. A nice cocktail and a Zyn are the ideal go-to’s for Gragson. That being said, Gragson also highlighted his love for the sport as a fan. “If I could, I would be on the deck in the infield, watching the race with my shirt off and my favorite driver’s flag flying with all my friends. But I’m grateful to be inside the racecar, so yeah, as a 5’8 American who likes to have fun, I feel like I’m somebody that can be relatable to all the fans.”

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With Gragson’s pitch seeming more like a rebuttal to Hocevar’s campaign, the hosts felt the need to ask Gragson what he thought about Hocevar asking fans to vote for him and not ‘short’ their vote. The SHR driver stated, “It’s not relatable. For the people that are 6’6”, it’s cool for them to be able to relate to Carson. But I’m a man of the people, I’m a man of the fans, trying to be as relatable. Have an upper decky in the lip, a beer in your hand, and watch your favorite drivers, that’s what I’m all about.”

After taking a look at Gragson’s feistiness to get the fan vote over Hocevar and Co., fans may question SHR’s capabilities to help Gragson get the transfer on track. Fortunately, the budding racer believed that the #10 garage was on the right path.

Can Gragson make the transfer with the All-Star Open?

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As the Cup Series gears up for the All-Star Race, three drivers stand the chance to make it to the big race on May 19. Apart from the winner of the fan vote, the top two finishers of the All-Star Open will make the transfer. Although Gragson was unable to make the transfer last year in the Open due to a wreck, the #10 SHR driver believes 2024 may be different.

Speaking on the DJD, Gragson reflected on the changes to North Wilkesboro, which could help the #10 avoid a repeat of last year. He stated, “I definitely think it’s going to be fast, it’s going to be a fun racetrack. With the repave, they’ve taken the inside wall out so. I unfortunately hit that last year and relied on the fan vote, but we got it all patched up and got the fan vote, which was super cool last year.”

Last year, Gragson and his team had stickers on the car stating “Thanks Fans” to show their appreciation for winning the fan vote. But with how Gragson seems to be performing in the 2024 season with a handful of top-fives and top-tens, he may just make the transfer in the All-Star Open.

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The #10 SHR driver concluded by highlighting the importance of the community’s support; “We’re fuelled and motivated by their energy, and that’s, at the end of the day, what keeps us going. It’s the passion and energy of the fans that they give off. There’s nothing better than hearing some cheers during the driver intros and it gets everybody on our team fired up.”

Now that the All-Star Open is right around the corner, do you think Gragson will make it on merit? Or will fans need to step in once again?