Saturday, July 20, 2024

Brett Moffitt wins frantic Talladega Truck race as Crafton, Sanchez fight

Brett Moffitt qualified for Saturday’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Talladega Superspeedway by the skin of his teeth, and it paid off in the end.

Doing a one-off in a newly opened #34 truck for Front Row Motorsports, Moffitt qualified thirty-first but worked his way to the front by the third stage and was the top driver throughout the final segment as he led over half of it. It was not a simple Saturday drive, however, as he had to survive multiple restarts due to crashes bunching up the field six times in Stage #3.

A crash between Colby Howard and Chase Purdy set up overtime, which was followed by an even bigger accident on the first attempt. After riding behind the leaders to start the second restart, Moffitt tailed Christian Eckes until the latter attempted to throw a block but ran too far outside and lost the draft as Moffitt’s line surged ahead. Moffitt and Parker Kligerman then committed to the inside in front of fellow Xfinity Series regular Chandler Smith before Kligerman was shuffled out exiting turn four.

As they went through the tri-oval, Smith’s last-ditch overtake on the outside instead allowed Ben Rhodes to link up with Moffitt coming to the finish.

“I really had the mentality coming into today because it had been so long since I’d ran a truck at a superspeedway that I just wanted to try and learn in every situation. Normally, I get really nervous or worked up, but I just took it as a learning experience,” said Moffitt. “It’s been a while since I had to control a race like that, so just to be able to go do that and execute and believe in my skills and believe in myself and believe in this race team it was huge. It’s just a huge confidence booster of a day and my first time ever winning at a superspeedway, so I am pumped about that.”

Moffitt’s win was largely overshadowed by a particularly gruesome post-race confrontation between Matt Crafton and Nick Sanchez. During the first overtime, Sanchez clipped Crafton to trigger a massive wreck that collected eight other trucks, relegating Crafton to twenty-fourth while Sanchez still finished seventh.

According to Sanchez, Crafton sneaked up on him from behind in the garage area before delivering a sucker punch to the head. Sanchez hit the pavement which caused blood to pour down his face. As fellow driver Cory Roper arrived to pull him back, Sanchez yelled at Crafton, “I’m going to fucking kill you in Homestead! You fucked with the wrong guy, motherfucker!”

Crafton called back that “I’ll whip your ass. I got you at Homestead, bitch!”

Sanchez suggested he might have had his nose broken in the scuffle.

Greg Van Alst and Stewart Friesen also needed medical attention after being caught up in wrecks, resulting in hospitalisation. As of this article’s publication, Friesen was discharged on Saturday evening.

Race results

Finish Start Number Driver Team Manufacturer Laps Status
1 31 34 Brett Moffitt* Front Row Motorsports Ford 99 Running
2 8 99 Ben Rhodes ThorSport Racing Ford 99 Running
3 4 5 Dean Thompson TRICON Garage Toyota 99 Running
4 28 25 Chandler Smith* Rackley WAR Chevrolet 99 Running
5 9 11 Corey Heim TRICON Garage Toyota 99 Running
6 29 43 Daniel Dye GMS Racing Chevrolet 99 Running
7 2 2 Nick Sanchez Rev Racing Chevrolet 99 Running
8 23 13 Hailie Deegan ThorSport Racing Ford 99 Running
9 13 75 Parker Kligerman* Henderson Motorsports Chevrolet 99 Running
10 21 45 Lawless Alan Niece Motorsports Chevrolet 99 Running
11 7 42 Carson Hocevar Niece Motorsports Chevrolet 99 Running
12 14 24 Rajah Caruth GMS Racing Chevrolet 99 Running
13 25 23 Grant Enfinger GMS Racing Chevrolet 99 Running
14 6 51 Jack Wood Kyle Busch Motorsports Chevrolet 99 Running
15 32 02 Garrett Smithley* Young’s Motorsports Chevrolet 99 Running
16 15 32 Bret Holmes Bret Holmes Racing Chevrolet 99 Running
17 33 30 Ryan Vargas On Point Motorsports Toyota 99 Running
18 24 17 Taylor Gray TRICON Garage Toyota 99 Running
19 16 19 Christian Eckes McAnally-Hilgemann Racing Chevrolet 99 Running
20 10 61 Jake Drew Hattori Racing Enterprises Toyota 98 Running
21 5 98 Ty Majeski ThorSport Racing Ford 93 Accident
22 35 04 Cory Roper Roper Racing Ford 93 DVP
23 17 9 Colby Howard CR7 Motorsports Chevrolet 92 Accident
24 12 88 Matt Crafton ThorSport Racing Ford 91 Accident
25 19 15 Tanner Gray TRICON Garage Toyota 91 Accident
26 26 20 Greg Van Alst Young’s Motorsports Chevrolet 91 Accident
27 36 22 Jason White AM Racing Ford 88 Running
28 1 4 Chase Purdy Kyle Busch Motorsports Chevrolet 84 Accident
29 3 35 Jake Garcia McAnally-Hilgemann Racing Chevrolet 79 Running
30 34 56 Tyler Hill Hill Motorsports Toyota 59 Accident
31 27 41 Bayley Currey Niece Motorsports Chevrolet 58 Accident
32 18 38 Zane Smith Front Row Motorsports Ford 55 Running
33 22 16 Tyler Ankrum Hattori Racing Enterprises Toyota 50 Accident
34 20 52 Stewart Friesen Halmar Friesen Racing Toyota 38 Accident
35 11 1 David Gilliland TRICON Garage Toyota 38 Accident
36 30 28 Bryan Dauzat FDNY Racing Chevrolet 5 Handling
DNQ 12 Spencer Boyd Young’s Motorsports Chevrolet
DNQ 10 Jennifer Jo Cobb Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing Chevrolet
DNQ 33 Keith McGee Reaume Brothers Racing Ford
DNQ 95 Clay Greenfield GK Racing Chevrolet
Bold – Currently in playoffs
Italics – Competing for Rookie of the Year
* – Ineligible for points