TALLADEGA, Ala. – In the closing laps of the Love’s RV Stop 250, drivers held three-wide battles to find prime positioning for the win.
While Brett Moffitt ultimately claimed the hardware, Talladega Superspeedway’s “Big One” collected a dozen trucks.
But what started the mayhem resulted in more fights in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series garage.
On track, Matt Crafton was pushed in the outside lane. Nick Sanchez, who won Stage 1 earlier in the day, saw an opening in the middle lane and went for the pass. Crafton tried to block but was ultimate turned into the inside lane. Multiple trucks were involved, including Greg van Alst who was transported to a local hospital with a fractured vertebrae.
Crafton didn’t take the contact lightly and gave contact back to Sanchez in the garage post-race where the two had a brawl. Sanchez had blood on his face while crew members and other drivers stepped in to break up the confrontation.
The team at Frontstretch caught a 30-second clip of the fight as the two drivers were on the ground being separated.
Sanchez was taken to the infield care center where he was treated and released after suffering a broken nose.
“I was walking back to the hauler, tap on my back, got punched in the face,” Sanchez said at the care center. “Cheap shot, but it is what it is, I guess. I’m all for fighting, but no cheap shots. He got a cheap shot, I didn’t really have a chance to get him back.”
For Crafton, the three-time series champion shared his side of the incident late Sunday morning.
“First, let’s address the ‘sucker punch’,” Crafton stated on social media. “Before the cameras started rolling, I approached Nick and said ‘hey’ when he turned around I said, ‘what the —?!’ to which he looked right at me and threatened me. That is when it all went to hell. I had his attention, words were exchanged, all before anything physical took place, so I did not ‘sucker punch’ the guy. There may not be video, but there were plenty of eye witnesses.
“What people don’t take into account is that he all but ‘sucker punched’ me at 200 mph. The way he pushed my truck gave me no ability to get out of the situation and he was told multiple times during that race the way he was pushing people was going to cause a wreck and going to get people hurt. There is a consistent pattern of certain drivers having a lack of respect on the track, and it was time for someone to say something.”
Sanchez was credited with a seventh place finish while Crafton fell back to 24th as a DNF. Crafton was eliminated from the Playoffs last round while Sanchez currently sits fourth in the Round of 8, just three points above the cut line. There is one race remaining before the championship race at Phoenix Raceway.
“To be above the cutline is amazing,” Sanchez said in the media bullpen before the fight. “It’s pressure off myself and I think we’ll have a pretty good truck at Homestead.”
NASCAR has not shared any official ruling – whether penalties, fines or suspensions – on the situation but has shared they have already begun investigations. There is no word yet if charges would be pressed.