By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
Wendell Chavous’ last ride ends on a high note, finishing fifth in Saturday’s Fr8Auctions 250 at Talladega Sueprspeedway in Alabama.
Not only did Chavous’ 50th start marked his first top-five of his entire NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career, but it is also Premium Motorsports first ever top-five result since Jay Robinson began fielding trucks in 2015, surpassing Ross Chastain’s seventh-place result at Las Vegas Sept. 14.
This past Monday, the Hephzibah, Georgia native stated that Talladega will be his final start as he’ll be focusing on his four-year-old son, and trying to develop his racing career. Not only family will become Chavous’ priority, he also owns Steel Barn & Truss, which has done well, and felt it’s important to keep building his business going forward.
After getting out of his No. 49 Sobriety Nation Chevrolet for the final time, and thanked his entire crew for a job well done. Chavous said exiting the sport with a top-five felt great beyond belief.
“You just don’t know how great this is,” Chavous said. “Leaving the sport to take care of my family and business, and then get my best finish. Man, it’s just awesome.”
For 93 laps, Chavous’ No. 49 Sobriety Nation Chevrolet had escaped the annual thrills and spills that defines the 2.66-mile superspeedway, and put himself in great position for a top-ten effort after running at the back all race long, but he had one more challenge left as the field entered the backstretch for the final time.
Chavous was running side-by-side with Robby Lyons for seventh, and was pushing Myatt Snider. Rather than sticking with him, he went down to the bottom to work with the lapped truck of Ben Rhodes. That’s where the drama picked up as Timothy Peters got into the back of race leader Noah Gragson, causing a multi-truck crash that collected several underdogs such as Jennifer Jo Cobb, Korbin Forrister, Austin Hill, and Austin Wayne Self.
Drivers went low to avoid Gragson, including Chavous who made it through unscathed as the caution came out, signifying the race was over. Due to a scoring pylon error, it had Chavous on top of leaderboard, but immediately thereafter, NASCAR declared Peters as the race winner, scoring his third win at Talladega, while Chavous was credited for fifth.
“I was just riding and they was like, ‘Go high, go low, wherever you think it’s the best place to go, just go there,'” Chavous on the closing laps. “The last corner, I just yanked left and had a hole and I come out three wide coming out of (Turn) 2, so it was just meant to be.”
Through it all, Chavous said he also had someone on his side that guided him through the last lap, as he raced with a heavy heart as one of his No. 49 pit crew’s family member passed away.
“We had a crew member that had a family member passed away, and he was riding with me,” Chavous said. “I think he pushed me on through the deal about there just a minute ago, but this is an awesome way to leave.”
In 49 previous starts, the 33-year-old has only finished no better than 12th on two occasions, both taking place this year at the season opener at Daytona and later at Texas. Now, he’ll be remembered in the NASCAR record books of having a top-five to his name forever.