Matt DiBenedetto won Saturday’s 250-mile NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Talladega Superspeedway on a day pockmarked by numerous accidents, including a major one at the finish.
As the field swept to the finish line in overtime, a multi-car crash developed as Corey Heim lost control of his truck in the trioval. Several trucks crashed approaching the finish as the caution flag flew.
NASCAR officials studied video of the final lap to determine that DiBenedetto was in front when the caution lights were turned on, although Bret Holmes appeared to beat him to the finish line by inches. When caution lights appear, the field is frozen at that point, so any position changes after the caution are irrelevant.
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The last lap was the only one led by DiBenedetto, who has been racing in NASCAR national series since 2009 but scored his first win.
Following DiBenedetto, a non-playoff driver, at the finish were Ben Rhodes, Holmes, Ryan Preece and Christian Eckes.
With one race remaining in the Round of 8, Ty Majeski has locked in a spot in the final four at Phoenix. Chandler Smith, Zane Smith and Rhodes are above the cutline. Below the line are Stewart Friesen, Eckes, John Hunter Nemechek and Grant Enfinger.
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A string of accidents left only two playoff drivers — Eckes and Rhodes — in the top 10 with 10 laps remaining.
Carson Hocevar dropped out of the lead group with five laps to go when he lost a tire, prompting a caution flag and pushing the race into overtime.
#NASCAR … Matt DiBenedetto high-fives fans in Victory Lane at Talladega. pic.twitter.com/uHI3wXo3qE
— Dustin Long (@dustinlong) October 1, 2022
The race was marred by a fiery crash in the early going as Jordan Anderson‘s truck exploded in flames while running in the top five in a tight draft.
Anderson steered the truck to the inside as flames fired up on both sides of the vehicle. The truck crashed into the inside wall even as Anderson climbed from the driver-side window. He was transported to an area hospital.
On Lap 35, Lawless Alan hit the wall hard after his right front tire blew. He was evaluated and released from the infield medical center.
Another dangerous situation developed on Lap 63 as numerous trucks pitted at the same time under green. As Hailie Deegan attempted to stop in her pit, one of the crew members lost control of a tire, and it rolled into traffic and onto the grass area separating pit road from the track. A Deegan crew member chased down the tire in the grass and later was ejected from the track by NASCAR officials for a safety violation.
On Lap 79, Enfinger’s truck blew a tire and slammed the wall, starting a crash that collected Tanner Gray, Johnny Sauter and Austin Wayne Self.
Stage 1 winner: John Hunter Nemechek
Stage 2 winner: Chandler Smith
Who had a good race: Matt DiBenedetto had been waiting a very long time for this winning moment. … Alabama driver Bret Holmes almost won in front of the home crowd. He finished third.
Who had a bad race: Jordan Anderson had one of the most frightening crashes of the season, bailing out of his flaming truck after it caught fire in the middle of a pack of drafting trucks. … Playoff drivers John Hunter Nemechek (finished 24th) and Grant Enfinger (29th) had rough outings.
Next: The Truck Series is off for three weeks before racing at Homestead-Miami Speedway Oct. 22. The series’ final race is scheduled Nov. 4 at Phoenix Raceway.