By David Morgan, Associate Editor
TALLADEGA, Ala. – Superspeedway racing usually delivers plenty of drama on-track, but in Saturday’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Talladega, the drama spilled off the track and into the garage.
It all began with a wreck coming to two laps to go in regulation when Nicholas Sanchez and Matt Crafton made contact in the tri-oval, triggering the “Big One,” a crash involving 10 cars that brought out the second red flag of the day and sent the race into overtime.
Sanchez was able to continue on and finish the race, bringing home a seventh-place finish, while Crafton was among those whose day was done following the crash.
Once back in the garage following the race, things spiraled out of control when Crafton, Sanchez, and assorted other crew members got into a brawl, which left Sanchez bloodied and vowing to get his revenge in the next race on the schedule at Homestead-Miami Speedway in three weeks’ time.
“I’m going to f****** kill you at Homestead! You f****** with the wrong guy, mother f******,” Sanchez was overheard shouting at Crafton as he was being restrained by a crew member.
After getting checked out at the Infield Care Center following the incident, Sanchez explained his side of the fight.
“I was walking back to the hauler, tap on my back, and got punched in the face. Cheap shot, but it is what it is, I guess. I’m all for fighting, but no cheap shots. I got a cheap shot, but never really got a chance to get him back. It is what it is. It’s part of racing.”
Sanchez added that he didn’t require any stitches, but did have his cuts glued in the Infield Care Center and may have a broken nose.
In the aftermath of the fight, NASCAR noted that they would be reviewing the incident and any penalties would be forthcoming in the week ahead as per normal protocol.
UPDATE: After video of the fight went viral on social media, Crafton gave his side of the story on Sunday morning in a six-post long thread on X/Twitter, rebuking the notion that he “sucker punched” Sanchez.