From Bill W, image courtesy of Alan Holland/Hoseheads.com
Jesse “The Rocket” Hockett was close to gaining a second crown in a row at the Ronald Laney Memorial “King of the 360’s” at East Bay Raceway Park near Tampa, Florida last Saturday night. He would settle for second in a successful first weekend back to open the 2010 season. He will now get things ready for the Devil’s Bowl Speedway and Lucas Oil ASCS action on March 19 and 20.
After running 11th and second the first two nights, Jesse couldn’t quite lock himself into the top three rows on Saturday. He did run second in his heat, assuring him of a spot in row four. “We just missed locking ourselves in by one car,” he says. “We made it through the heat and started seventh in the feature.”
The Warsaw, Missouri native worked his way forward. A battle with eventual winner Wayne Johnson proved to be pivotal. “We made it past a couple of cars, and there were a couple of cars (Mark Smith and Tim Shaffer) that had problems,” says Jesse. “Wayne and I had a really good battle about halfway through. We didn’t know that was going to be for the win at the time. We were trying not to make mistakes, because we were only about fifteen laps in. As it turned out, that was the battle for the win in the end.”
The last few laps turned into a chase for Jesse, especially after the departure of Smith and Shaffer. “Once we got cleared of traffic, we were catching him a bit,” he says of his pursuit of Wayne. “I gave him a bit of a challenge in the last corner, but I didn’t have enough speed to make it work, so we ended up second.”
The solid finish with many of the top drivers in the country was set up by a scramble in the opener on Thursday. “It looked like things were really going to start out well for us,” says Jesse. “We started tenth in the heat and we were up to battle for second. That’s when the rear-end broke and that put us in the back of the B.”
After the crew went to work replacing the rear-end, they advanced to second in the B, and started tail in the preliminary feature. “The car was running really well,” says Jesse. “We were up to seventh in fourteen laps. We cut a right rear tire down and that point, so we went back to the tail. We got it going again, and got back up to eleventh.”
Friday night, things went more smoothly. After starting second in his heat, the defending “King of the 360’s” took first. Starting third in the feature, he tried to run down the leader, Shaffer, but settled for second. “We were fast, but so was Tim,” he says. “There really was no one challenging us there in second. The track was a bit slicker, so everything was working really well in the VKCC Motorsports #75.”
Jesse appreciates the help of a special trio that made the Florida trip a success. “I have to say a special thanks to Dave Reedy and Penske Shocks, Korte Transportation and CnB Mushroom Farms,” he says. “They all made this trip possible. We’ll go back to Missouri for a couple of weeks and really get things prepared for Devil’s Bowl. We had so much going on this winter. We want to be totally prepared when we head South.”
On the Web
To learn more about Jesse “The Rocket” Hockett, including updated results and photos, visit http://JesseHockett.com!
Jesse had a rough start in his runs at East Bay, but has found a nice groove. He has finished eleventh or better in seven of his last nine feature starts there. Included is the win in last year’s event worth $13,500, two seconds and two thirds. Another win came in 410 non-wing action in 2007, when he topped Brady Short, Shane Cottle, Tracy Hines and Levi Jones.
Partner Spotlight – Penske Shocks
Jesse says, “I got hooked up with Dave Reedy in Florida about five years ago. I’ve never ran anything else since. He’s great to work with, and can build you what you need.”
Penske Racing Shocks home office is in Reading, Pennsylvania. They support competitors in a number of racing disciplines including Formula 1, NASCAR, IRL, ALMS, Grand-Am, AMA, NHRA, IHRA, SCCA, Australian Touring Cars, BTCC, Moto GP, and of course the short tracks! Visit www.PenskeShocks.com today, to find out more!
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org with “Hockett” in the subject line.
Jesse would like to thank the partners of the VKCC Motorsports #75 and the JHR #77 teams including Parker Store of Phoenix, Rod End Supply, M&W Aluminum Products, A.R.T. Speed Equipment, Don Ott Racing Engines, Vortex Wings, Penske Shocks, Butlerbuilt Professional Seat Systems, Diversified Machine, Inc., Fischer Body Shop, Simpson, SWE, Maxwell Shock Dynos, 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, Engler, Weld Racing, Spike Products, Maxwell, Red Onion Lounge, Engler, Barnes Dry Sump Oil Systems, FSR Racing Products, Canyon Apparel, JEI, Total Seal Piston Rings and JE Pistons for all their help!.