Rocket Hockett – Little Rock Charger!

From Bill W, photo courtesy of John Lee

“The Rocket” Jesse Hockett was hoping to haul the big money from the Short Track Nationals back to Warsaw, Missouri. He would end up seven spots short, salvaging a tough weekend by earning hard-charger honors in the finale. This week, he’ll take the VKCC Motorsports/Tom Buch #13 to Tulare, California, and take the wings off for USAC/CRA action at the Thunderbowl Raceway.

Jesse qualified on Thursday night at the Short Track Nationals held at the I-30 Speedway south of Little Rock, Arkansas. He ran fourth in his heat after starting sixth on the red clay ¼ mile oval. “It was definitely a heavy track there on Thursday night,” he says. “We were just alright in the heat finishing fourth.”

The Heat/Qualifier format was used, and Jesse lined up inside row two. He had a strong run before the motor expired. “In the Qualifier, we were doing alright,” he explains. “If we would have finished where we were at, we would have been in the back of the A. We ended up dropping a valve there with a few laps to go.”

Still not feeling comfortable with his car, Jesse used the day off to play car owner for young Californian Kyle Larson and the JHR #77, and help his team put together an entry for Saturday. “We actually put a whole different car together for Saturday,” he says. “We were starting over. That car seems to suit my style a whole lot better.”

The gamble paid off. Though the #77 suffered motor problems after hot laps on Saturday, the #13 was hitting on all cylinders. With qualifying night points used to determine who may make it in the finale, Jesse went in knowing he would probably have to win a Qualifier to get in. “We got it going pretty good there in the heat,” he says. “We were in the second heat, and it was really one-lane. We really had no chance to do much passing.”

After finishing third in one of the stoutest heats of the night, Jesse lined up fifth in his Qualifier. Odds were tough, as he had to win the 10-lap event to even make the finale. “It looked like we had a long way to go,” he says. “A couple of cars got together in front of us (J Kinder/Don Young) on the first lap, and that helped us out with our starting position. I really think we may have won anyway. We were already in second there in turn two on the original start.”

The 40-lap $15,000 to win event was up next, and Jesse would post outside row ten. In the end, he would surge forward and earn hard-charger honors with another top ten finish. “The car was good, but starting twentieth with that class of cars in front of you is tough,” he says. “We moved up through there pretty well, stayed out of trouble, and came home with an eighth.”

The VKCC Motorsports/Tom Buch #13 team is currently towing westward to the Tulare Thunderbowl. “Saturday and Sunday we’ll be out in Tulare for the USAC race,” says Jesse. “Then we’ll come back and run the Western World in Tucson (ASCS) next weekend.”

Models and Hoodies Available

A select number of Jesse Hockett 1/18 scale Tom Buch/VKCC Motorsports #13 models are still in stock. He also has new hooded sweatshirts available. Catch him at the track, or visit to order!

On the Web

To learn more about Jesse “The Rocket” Hockett, including updated results and photos, visit!

T-Shirt Trivia!

Last week’s answer: Jesse has won at one track in Indiana: Gas City I-69 Speedway.

Last week’s winner: None

This week’s question: Who did Jesse drive for when he won last year’s Oval Nationals at the Perris Auto Speedway in California?

Each week, we’ll be giving away a Jesse Hockett t-shirt to our trivia winner! We will draw a winner from the correct answers submitted on Friday following the release. Submit your trivia answer, along with your name, address and t-shirt size to! Put “Hockett Trivia” in the subject line.

Rocket Rambles

Jesse has raced six times in California under five different sanctions for four car owners, and in four different disciplines (410 wing, 410 non-wing, 360 wing and 360 non-wing). The sanctions have represented USAC, WoO, Civil War, USAC-CRA and VRA. In six main events, he has finished in the top ten four times. His best finish was a second in July at Placerville Speedway driving Harold Main’s #35A.

Partner Spotlight – Rod End Supply

Jesse says, “Bob Douglas at Rod End Supply has been one of my biggest supporters since I started racing. I feel they are the best out there as far as holding together.”

Whether your running a go-cart, micro, mini-sprint, midget, modified, late model, sprint or a tractor, Rod End Supply has the assortment of rod ends, radius rods, and specialty products that will help you lead the field in performing at your maximum potential. At Rod End Supply, “They don’t just sell ‘em, they race ‘em! Visit them on the web at or call 1-800-284-2902 today!

Rocket Hockett

“Rocket Hockett” is an up close look at the past, present and future of Jesse Hockett. To receive “Rockett Hockett”, send an e-mail to with “Hockett” in the subject line.

Jesse would like to thank the partners of the VKCC Motorsports/Tom Buch team, including Parker Store of Phoenix, AMS Waterfall Systems, Rod End Supply, LRB Manufacturing, Penske Shocks, Butlerbuilt Professional Seat Systems, Diversified Machine, Inc., Fischer Body Shop, Simpson, Hoosier, Conroy Bleeders, ARP Fasteners, Indy Race Parts, Massey’s Truck and Tank Repair, RMS Racing Engines, Pro Powder Coating, Korte Transportation, Rocket Graphics, Lucas Oil, Weld Racing, Spike Products, Maxwell, Red Onion Lounge, Engler, Barnes Dry Sump Oil Systems, FSR Racing Products, RH2, Canyon Apparel, JEI, Total Seal Piston Rings, JE Pistons and Wings Unlimited for all their help!.