NASCAR Truck Series driver Matt Crafton got into a fight that left fellow competitor Nick Sanchez bruised and bloodied after their race at Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday.
Sanchez was seen on video bleeding from his nose and threatening Crafton. He said after the melee that he got sucker-punched while he was in the garage area.
Crafton explained his side of the issue Sunday in a series of posts on X, formerly Twitter. He started by telling his followers what wasn’t caught on the video that made the rounds on social media.
“First, let’s address the ‘sucker punch.’ 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,” Crafton started.
“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.”
Crafton said that what was missing was how Sanchez was driving during the race. Crafton got caught up in a wreck near Sanchez during the truck race. He wouldn’t be able to finish the race.
“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.”
“Am I proud that it got physical, no, but last time I checked everyone on that track is a grown adult. If a man looks at me and threatens me, I am going to react. Especially when tempers are already flared from being wrecked on the track.”
Crafton then apologized.
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“I apologize to my team, my sponsors and partners, my family, and the NASCAR community for the negativity and for taking attention away from a good day of racing at Talladega.”
Sanchez was among the drivers looking for an edge in the final elimination before the Championship Four 21 days away. Sanchez was in the mix heading into Talladega and made contact with Crafton’s vehicle coming down the front stretch with three laps to go.
The contact triggered a big wreck. Crafton wasn’t able to finish the race. Sanchez finished seventh and jumped to fourth place in the standings.
A video from Frontstretch showed Sanchez being held back after a brawl.
“I’m gonna f—ing kill you in Homestead,” Sanchez shouted, referencing the final race of the round of eight. “You f—ed with the wrong guy mother—er.”
Sanchez was left bloodied.
He left the infield care center with some scratches on his nose and explained to reporters what happened.
“I was walking back to the hauler, tapped on my back, got punched in the face,” he said. “Cheap shot, but it is what it is. I’m all for fighting, but no cheap shots. I got a cheap shot. Never had a chance to get him back. It is what it is. It’s a part of racing.”
Brett Moffitt came away with the victory after starting the Love’s RV Stop 250 in 31st. He led 22 laps on his way to a victory.
Two races remain on the Truck Series schedule this season — Homestead-Miami for the Baptist Health 200 and then the championship race at Phoenix on Nov. 3.
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