Matt Crafton, the other party involved in a post-race altercation with Nick Sanchez in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series garage at Talladega Superspeedway, has given his point of view of Saturday’s incident, via a six-post thread posted to Twitter on Sunday.
Crafton, a 23-year veteran of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, began his thread regarding the incident with the lead-in of “Here is what wasn’t caught on video,” before going into detail about the events that unfolded prior to the altercation.
Here is what wasn’t caught on video…
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.
— Matt Crafton (@Matt_Crafton) October 1, 2023
The 47-year-old indeed confirmed that he approached Sanchez following the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event on Saturday, but when he went to express his frustrations, by virtue of a “what the –?!”, Crafton says Sanchez “looked right at me and threatened me”.
According to Crafton, that is when things admittedly “all went to hell”. However, the three-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion didn’t hold anything back in saying “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 eyewitnesses.”
The point-of-view from Crafton regarding Saturday’s post-race altercation differs quite dramatically from that of Sanchez, who told members of the media after exiting the infield care center that he was “walking back to the hauler, tap on my back, [and] got punched in the face.”
As of Saturday evening, NASCAR is still working diligently to gather information about the fight between Sanchez and Crafton in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series garage. Any information gathered will be used to determine if any penalties are necessary.
However, at this point in time, there has not been any video documentation of the post-race altercation that clearly displays the origin of the incident and what initiated the physical aspect of it.
In his thread, Crafton continued on to further explain what about the on-track incident – a 15-truck pileup with two laps remaining in the event – that ended up being the catalyst for the altercation in the Talladega Superspeedway garage.
“What people don’t take into account is that [Sanchez] all but ‘sucker punched’ me at 200mph,” Crafton said about the incident. “The way he pushed my truck gave me no ability to get out of the situation, and he was told multiple times during the 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,” Crafton added. “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.”
At the end of the post, Crafton went on to further apologize for his actions following Saturday’s event, saying: “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.”
With Nick Sanchez looking to advance to the ‘Championship 4’ in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series this year, a potential budding rivalry between Crafton and the Rev Racing driver could be something that unfolds over the next couple of weeks.
Any penalties from Saturday’s altercation will be announced mid-week.