Matt Crafton, Nick Sanchez fined for post-race altercation in Talladega garage

Matt Crafton, Nick Sanchez fined for post-race altercation in Talladega garage

NASCAR competition officials issued behavioral penalties Tuesday to Craftsman Truck Series drivers Matt Crafton and Nick Sanchez for their roles in a post-race altercation last weekend at Talladega Superspeedway.

Crafton, driver of the ThorSport Racing No. 88 Ford, was fined $25,000 for his actions in a fight after Saturday’s Love‘s RV Stop 250. Sanchez, a rookie in the No. 2 Rev Racing Chevrolet, was fined $5,000. Sanchez’s father, Rene, was also penalized for his involvement in the fracas, with officials suspending him from NASCAR for the remaining two races on the 2023 schedule.

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Crafton and Sanchez made contact in the closing laps of Saturday’s playoff event, sparking a multitruck incident. Sanchez continued to a seventh-place finish, but Crafton’s race ended after 91 of the 99 laps because of terminal damage to his No. 88 entry.

Crafton — who was unhurt — stopped in Sanchez’s pit stall, dismounted, then directed harsh words toward the No. 2 team as he walked back to the garage. Post-race, witnesses said Crafton confronted Sanchez and punches flew. The rookie, bloodied by what he called a “cheap shot,” then made violent threats to Crafton, promising retribution in the tour’s next race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

NASCAR officials also penalized driver Chandler Smith for a violation during Saturday’s Cup Series Qualifying of Section, which has the heading of Driver Protective Clothing/Equipment. The safety infraction — in this case, failure to wear a required head sock and/or helmet skirt — resulted in a $10,000 fine to Smith, who finished a career-best 11th in his third Cup Series start.