The fight was instigated by Matt Crafton, who drives the No. 88 Ford F-150, after the race was complete. Crafton and Sanchez made contact on Lap 91 of 99, critically damaging Crafton’s race truck and forcing his early retirement from the event, relegating him to a 24th-place finish. Sanchez, meanwhile, was able to continue, completing all laps and finishing seventh overall.
Crafton waited for Sanchez after the race and confronted him. In an interview, Sanchez claimed that Crafton tapped him on the shoulder and “sucker punched” him when he turned around, bloodying his face before the two were forcibly separated. Sanchez made significant verbal threats to Crafton as the two were held back, promising to make things even in a future race. Sanchez’s father, Rene, was also involved in the altercation.
As a result, NASCAR issued a $5,000 fine to Sanchez for his violent comments toward Crafton, while his father has been suspended from NASCAR for the remainder of the Truck Series season. Crafton, meanwhile, was fined $25,000 for punching Sanchez. Neither driver was suspended, and no points were deducted from them.
“A suspension was definitely considered,” said NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition, Elton Sawyer. “This is where we landed. We feel 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. So that’s why he received the fine that he received.”
As for Sanchez’s father’s involvement, Sawyer said, “Having other people involved in that situation, whether it’s family, crew members – it doesn’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.”