TALLADEGA, Ala. – Tate Fogleman smashed his way to his first victory in the NASCAR series’ national career with an overtime victory in the Truck Series race at the Talladega Superspeedway, the opening of NASCAR’s weekend playoff tripleheader.
Fogleman spun John Hunter Nemechek from the lead on his way to the finish line Saturday on the second lap of a two-lap overtime race for his first victory in the 46-career Truck Series start. His Chevrolet ruined his way across the finish line, and Fogleman went to the care center for the mandatory health check instead of the victory lane.
It was just the second career-top-10 for Fogleman, who in his second season is driving for Young’s Motorsports. Saturday was the second career start at Talladega for the 21-year-old short track racer.
The race was the first of all three NASCAR national series at Talladega this weekend and opened a Saturday double-header with the Xfinity series. The cup series was scheduled for Sunday – the weather required rain – and all three races had major playoff consequences.
For the Truck Series, all four spots in the championship final were open before Talladega because a non-playoff driver won in Las Vegas last week.
All four seats are still open with one race left in this round, at Martinsville Speedway on Oct. 30, where the field of eight will be trimmed to four. A win by any of the eight playoff drivers automatically earns for the berth in the championship final.
Fogleman limited an insane two-round overtime competition and denied Nemechek an automatic berth for the championship. Tyler Hill finished a career-best second and was followed by Todd Gilliland as Nemechek dropped to fourth.
“That’s how every race here in the last few years has ended,” Nemechek said. “I can not be angry. As much as you want to be angry, you can not be angry. It is partly my fault. You take it with a grain of salt. I am more angry with myself than anything else for not getting taller. to keep me away from him. ”
And he rejected a smoking Matt Crafton, calling the 45-year-old three-time league champion “an old man” when Crafton confronted him after the race. Crafton said he had issues with Nemechek in all three stages of the race.
“He’s smarter than that,” Crafton said. “I feel good being hit right down stage points, but not getting out of the corner, but what comes around sometimes goes around.”
All drivers have resented Talladega because of the unpredictability of pack racing at the 2.66-mile superspeedway. The Truck Series race had three warnings over the last 35 laps of regulation that totaled 28 trucks — and that was before the accident with several trucks behind the leaders on the last lap of overtime.
The race was previously stopped for just over nine minutes with 35 laps left to clean up a 19-truck accident. Another race with six trucks t aimed at title candidates Carson Hocevar and Stewart Friesen, and the race was ultimately not good for any of the playoffs.
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