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NASCAR Issues Slaps on the Wrist for Drivers Involved in Bloody Fight, Suspends Driver's Father

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Bloody Fight Results in NASCAR Slaps on the WristJared C. Tilton - Getty Images
  • Apparently the only person suspended from this past weekend's bloody skirmish between NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series racers Matt Crafton and Nick Sanchez was Sanchez's' father.

  • Crafton, who Sanchez maintains “sucker punched” him, has been fined $25,000.

  • Sanchez was fined $5,000.


NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers Matt Crafton and Nick Sanchez, who got into a bloody altercation after the Love’s RV Stop 250 at Talladega Superspeedway, have received a slap on the wrist from the sanctioning body.

Crafton, who Sanchez maintains “sucker punched” him, has been fined $25,000. Sanchez was fined $5,000 for the threats he yelled at Crafton. Sanchez’s father, Rene, has been suspended from NASCAR for the rest of the 2023 season for his involvement in the skirmish.

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Nick Sanchez got says he was "sucker punched" by NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series rival Matt Crafton.Icon Sportswire - Getty Images

NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition Elton Sawyer said Tuesday on “The Morning Drive” on SIRIUSXM NASCAR Radio that officials spent the previous day examining the situation and looking at the timeline of how things unfolded.

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“A suspension was definitely considered,” Sawyer says. “We had long conversations yesterday (Monday) about that with our group. We felt like some of the comments that were made by Nick … we totally understand that’s in the heat of the battle … but we just can’t have those type of comments.”

There was video of Sanchez, who had blood running down his face, shouting at Crafton that he was going “to kill him at Homestead.”

On Crafton’s side, Sawyer said NASCAR looked at the fact that he had, had some time to think about the situation.

“It wasn’t like both drivers got out on pit road, heat of the battle, they go down on pit road and they have a discussion with each other,” Sawyer says. “This one spilled over into the garage some time after the event. So, felt like it could have been handled differently.

“Then having other people involved in that situation, whether it’s family, whether it’s pit crew members, it didn’t matter. If you’re in the middle of that and you’re trying to break it up, that’s one thing. If you’re in the middle of that and you’re throwing punches, we are going to react and we’re not going to tolerate that type of behavior.”

Sawyer says he “gets it” that it’s a dad defending his son, but NASCAR won’t tolerate it.

Early in Joey Logano’s career his father was suspended for his involvement in an altercation that involved his son.

“We plan to sit down with the appropriate folks at Homestead in a couple of weeks, and make sure that we’re all on the same page,” Sawyer says.

After NASCAR issued the penalties, Sanchez posted the following statement on X, formerly Twitter:

“At this time I will accept NASCAR’s penalty issued after the post-race occurrence at Talladega. It is a very unfortunate situation that negatively impacted a lot of individuals and the sport we all are so very passionate about and privileged to participate in each day.

“As for the incident, anything that doesn’t pertain to bettering myself as a race car driver or winning doesn’t have my energy or focus and never will. I look forward to continuing my quest for the Championship in Miami.”

On Monday, Crafton posted the following remarks on X:

“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.

“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.

“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.”

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is off until Oct. 21 at Homestead, Fla.