TALLADEGA, Ala — We saw a frightening incident that saw a driver get airlifted to a Birmingham area hospital, we saw a crew member lose his hard card and get ejected and then a photo finish to settle Saturday’s Chevy Silverado 250 at the Talladega Superspeedway.
At the line, it showed that Bret Holmes topped Matt DiBenedetto by .002-seconds to score what he thought was his 1st career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory. However, a crash happened behind and the yellow light was displayed ending the race at that loop.
At the time, DiBenedetto was the leader and was declared the victor instead of Homes for his 1st career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory.
It was the 5th straight year that the winner led only the final lap as DiBenedetto comes away overjoyed and the home state driver of Holmes dejected.
“It’s such a long time coming,” DiBenedetto said who has 1 career lap led in the Truck Series now. “Praise God. All glory to God.”
He’s 1-for-1 here in the Truck Series race. Each of the last 4 Truck Series race winners here have scored their first career victories too.
It was a typically competitive afternoon at Talladega – with 11 leaders and 25 lead changes in the 95-lap race – only to end with a dramatic push for the checkered flag in a green-white-checkered overtime finish.
The 25-year-old Holmes – the 2020 ARCA Menards Series champion – led the white flag lap and thought he was ahead when the final yellow and checkered flags waved and pulled up to the trophy stand, where DiBenedetto later pulled alongside.
Holmes was 15th in this race last year and comes up just short in his No. 32 Chevrolet.
“I just want to win here so bad,” he said.
“It definitely showed we deserve to be here. Tough to lose that one for sure.”
Ryan Preece and Playoff driver Christian Eckes rounded out the top-five. Hailie Deegan – the only full-time woman competitor in the series — earned a career best sixth-place finish. Chase Purdy, Colby Howard, Parker Kligerman and Tyler Ankrum rounded out the Top-10.
Ben Rhodes, Ryan Preece and Chase Purdy rounded out the top five in a wild 95 lap race that ended in overtime.
Rhodes was 1 of just 2 playoff drivers to come away with a top 13 finish on Saturday. He has 2 top 4 finishes in his last 3 Truck Series starts at Talladega.
We go to Homestead next month to settle the final race of the 2nd round. 3 spots are still available for taking to advance to the Championship 4 at Phoenix when we go to the South Florida racetrack in three weeks.
Ty Majeski is the only driver who knows he’s racing for the championship. Chander Smith (+30), Zane Smith (+18) and Rhodes (+3) hold the three spots right now. Stewart Friesen (-3) Christian Eckes (-3) John Hunter Nemechek (-5) and Grant Enfinger (-29) will try to force their ways in.
Nemechek scored 19 stage points on Saturday via a Stage 1 win and 2nd in Stage 2, but he’s 4 points back. That’s because he was caught up in that last lap chaos and finished a disappointing 23rd. Nemechek is grateful for those stage points because he said he could be 19 further points back without them.
He was 12th at Bristol. That comes after having 3 top 3 finishes in the 4 races prior for the driver to win the regular season championship a year ago on the heels of 5 wins but failed to take the championship.
His teammate Chandler Smith was 4th and 1st respectively in the 2 stages to net 17 stage points but would finish 14th. That’s just his 2nd finish in the last 7 races outside the top 10.
Earlier in the race, Jordan Anderson’s No. 3 Chevrolet caught fire on Lap 18 of Saturday’s Chevrolet Silverado 250. Andreson, 31, was in the middle of the pack before having to back out as his truck engulfed in flames. As he was trying to slow, Anderson smacked the inside wall at Turn 2 exit.
It appeared that he was already unbuckled at the time because once his truck came to a quick rest, he quickly climbed out and escaped.
However, he was injured and was airlifted to a Birmingham area hospital for further evaluation for burns as well as being in obvious pain.
Anderson was making his fifth start of the year in the Camping World Truck Series. He is also a team owner on the Xfinity Series side, fielding a full-season effort for driver Myatt Snider.
We saw Hailie Deegan’s crew member ejected for retrieving a rogue tire on pit road during her final stop.
- Chevrolet has won 4 of the last 5 here.
- Just 1 time has the eventual race winner even finished in stage points here. That was 10th in Stage 1 of the 2017 race. No other time as the winner scored stage points.