Rocket Hockett – Back in the U.S.A.!

From Bill W, image courtesy of Hosehead

Jesse “The Rocket” Hockett returned to the States from his Australian tour last week to compete in the Chili Bowl at the Tulsa Expo Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. A run in the top ten in the prelim put him in Saturday’s B main where he failed to advance. The Warsaw, Missouri will take a bit of a break now before his next action in Florida. He hopes to defend his crown in the Ronald Laney Memorial “King of the 360’s” held February 25, 26 and 27.

Jesse spent a week and a half racing in five events in Australia at the Titan Garages Brisbane International Speedway in Brisbane, Queensland. He won the first race there, but struggled a bit from there on out. It turned out to be a mechanical issue. “Overall, the trip was really good,” he says. “After the first night when we won, we just couldn’t get the car set up. It was bicycling like a non-wing car. I think we found the problem after the last race. There was a part by the radiator that was busted. The car was flexing so much in the front end, so that was a bad deal. I hope to be back in Australia next year, and I want to thank John and Vicki Weatherall, the Motorguard team and the folks at Brisbane International Speedway.”

The trip back to Tulsa was a long one, and Jesse qualified on Thursday night. His runs in the heat (2nd) and the Qualifier (4th) were enough to start outside of row six in the feature. “We couldn’t buy a break,” he says of his quest to finish in the top three that night and lock himself into the finale. “Sometimes you get them at the Chili Bowl, and sometimes you don’t. We never had any ‘easy passes’ or stack-ups in front of us in the heat or qualifier. It seemed every race we ran went green to checker with no problems.”

In the feature, he would run in the top ten most of the way, but settle for a ninth place run in the Loyet Motorsports #o5H. “Every pass we made had to be legit, and it was just tough to pass,” says Jesse. “The track was mostly good on the top, but the bottom was kind of blown off. It seemed whenever I tried to make a move forward on the bottom, the top would come in. Nothing was easy.”

The finish put him in row six for Saturday night, where he needed a top six finish to make the finale. “We were o.k., just kind of maintaining,” he says. “Then we really got shuffled back during the yellow. You run the bottom and the top comes in and then the other way around. The way things went down; we were just in the wrong spot at the wrong time.”

The end result would see him drop out after a late caution. It wasn’t for a lack of good equipment though. “The Loyet family gave me a great car and I have to thank them,” says Jesse. “We just didn’t get the breaks that we needed to get up front. We’ll try it again next year.”

Jesse plans to hit Florida for the “King of the 360’s”. That will follow his wedding on the second Saturday in February.

On the Web

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

Rocket Rambles

Jesse’s win in the 2009 Ronald Laney Memorial “King of the 360’s” was his second career victory at the oval situated near Tampa. In 2007, he conquered a 410 non-wing Sprint Bandit show there ahead of Brady Short, Shane Cottle, Tracy Hines and Levi Jones. Last year’s $13,000 win came ahead of Jason Sides, Gene Lasker, Danny Martin Jr. and Tony Bruce Jr.

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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!.