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September 30, 2023

Nick Sanchez, Matt Crafton involved in post-race altercation at Talladega


Nick Sanchez stands on pit road at Talladega
Sean Gardner
Getty Images

Nick Sanchez and Matt Crafton were involved in a post-race altercation in the garage following Saturday afternoon’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Playoffs race at Talladega Superspeedway.

Video posted to X, formerly known as Twitter, showed Sanchez and numerous others on the ground in the garage area following the event. Sanchez’s face was bloodied after the incident, which he said began after a tap from behind after the race.

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“I was walking back to the hauler, got a tap on my back, got punched in the face,” Sanchez told reporters after being treated and released from the infield care center. “Cheap shot, but is what it is I guess. I’m all for fighting, but no cheap shots, and I got a cheap shot. Never really had a chance to get him back, but it is what it is. It’s part of racing.”

The two drivers’ trucks made contact at Lap 93 of Saturday’s race exiting Turn 4, a collision that triggered a significant multitruck wreck before the race’s nearing conclusion. Sanchez dove to Crafton’s left exiting the corner, putting his truck in the middle of a three-wide scenario. While making the move, Sanchez contacted the left-rear corner of Crafton’s truck, tipping him into traffic and initiating the pileup.

Crafton’s pit stall sat directly next to Sanchez’s, and following the crash, the 47-year-old and three-time series champion parked his No. 88 ThorSport Racing Ford between the two pit boxes. Upon exiting his truck, Crafton was seen exchanging words with crew members of Sanchez’s No. 2 Rev Racing Chevrolet.

“I heard a little bit about it but not a lot,” Sanchez said of the pit-road exchange. “It’s Talladega. It’s plate racing. I mean yeah, it was an aggressive move I made, but I held my line, right? It is what it is and it happens every year.”

Asked if he needed stitches, Sanchez replied: “No, I think they just glued my face and a slight break over here, I don’t know,” gesturing to the tip of his nose. “But I’m fine.”

NASCAR.com has reached out to ThorSport Racing for further comment on the incident. Crafton posted a thread on X Sunday afternoon explaining his side of the incident.

Sanchez leaves Talladega three points above the elimination line in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Playoffs standings. One race remains in the Round of 8, which will conclude at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Saturday, Oct. 21 (12 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Crafton qualified for the playoffs but was one of two drivers eliminated from title contention following the Round of 10 conclusion at Kansas Speedway on Sept. 8.

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