Ross Chastain celebrates in victory lane after winning the 2022 North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway
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Ross Chastain's Overtime Win at Charlotte Was the Best Truck Series Moment of 2022


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It may be strange to see Ross Chastain associated with the best NASCAR Truck Series moment of 2022, as the 29-year-old Florida native saw his greatest success in the Cup Series. In fact, it's hard to imagine that Chastain was able to accomplish much more outside of NASCAR's premier series this past year, considering he racked up two wins and 13 additional top-five finishes on the way to his first appearance in the Championship 4. Yet, the former watermelon farmer's second-overtime win at Charlotte Motor Speedway back in May was undoubtedly the most exciting finish of the 2022 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season.

Chastain won the North Carolina Education Lottery 200, his first win at Charlotte and the fourth Truck race win of his career, thanks to a lot of skill and a little bit of luck. On the final lap of second OT, Chastain was racing side-by-side on the backstretch with John Hunter Nemechek. A push from Grant Enfinger allowed Chastain to eke out a first-place finish, besting Enfinger by only 0.102 seconds. Nemechek placed third, finishing just 0.413 seconds behind Chastain.

"I'm glad to push my buddy Ross to a win," Enfinger said after the race. "In my book, he owes me one."

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Of course, Chastain pulled off his now-iconic watermelon smash after his big win at Charlotte, but his celebratory mood was also slightly tinged with remorse for his Niece Motorsports teammate Carson Hocevar. That's because the 19-year-old dominated most of the race, but saw his chance at his first Truck Series win slip away after he lost control during the first overtime, slamming into Ryan Preece's car during an attempted pass, which brought out a late caution period. In a post-race interview, Chastain shouldered a little bit of the blame for Hocevar's misfortune.

"I hate it so much for Carson," Chastain said. "I didn't give him the push he needed to win. Man, I'm so proud of Carson Hocevar. I'll say that over and over. That guy's a future star. He's such a goofy kid, but I love him. He learns so quick."

Hocevar took his missed opportunity pretty hard, climbing from his No. 42 Chevrolet after the race and sitting on the pavement with his head between his hands. In the post-race interview, Hocevar railed against his attempt to pass Preece.

"A dumbass move by myself," Hocevar said. "It sucks. I mean I tried really hard -- I tried too hard. I didn't get a good restart. I tried too hard, tried to wash (Preece) up and just crashed myself. I feel like just crying."

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But, you know what they say: there's no crying in NASCAR. Okay, they don't say that, but if there was anyone who didn't come close to crying tears of sadness that day at Charlotte, it was Ross Chastain. Having only run four Truck Series in 2022, he certainly made the most of his time behind the wheel of the No. 41 Chevy.

MORE: Ross Chastain Got a Black Eye and a Bloody Lip After This Heated Brawl in Texas

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