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NASCAR Trucks at Talladega: Fogleman crashes but takes the checker; his first Truck Series win

Talladega, Al, Oct 2/21 (GRW): In a race that saw a ‘big one’ crash mid-race which brought out the red flag, Tate Fogleman, in his second full season in the Truck Series, collided with John Hunter Nemechek and then Tyler Hill as they approached the finish line in overtime. Despite losing control, his truck crossed the line ahead of Hill and he became the race winner – his first time in 46 starts in the Truck Series. Nemechek slid across in fourth place behind Todd Gilliland.

Earlier on this final lap, a number of trucks tangled but NASCAR held off throwing the yellow until the winner crossed the line. Tyler Hill, who had finished in the top five only once in his three part-time seasons in the Truck Series, was scored in second place 0.052 sec behind Fogelman. Todd Gilliland was third ahead of John Hunter Nemechek and Ryan Truex.

After a quiet 20-lap first Stage, Ben Rhodes was the Stage winner ahead of Austin Hill and Matt Crafton. Same story for the second Stage, only a single one-truck incident. Sheldon Creed won this Stage ahead of Johnny Sauter and Zane Smith.

The final Stage was a different story. On lap 59 of the scheduled 94-lap race, the ‘big one’ crash occurred involving 21 of the 40 trucks leaving few trucks still undamaged. NASCAR threw the red flag while the track workers got on with the big cleanup operation.

If this crash wasn’t enough to remove or handicap many of the championship contenders, the next crash, which came on lap 77, took some more out when Todd Gilliland turned Grand Enfinger up into the wall. Among those caught up in the melee were Stewart Friesen, an innocent victim, and Carson Hocevar, both playoff contenders. Neither was able to continue.

Later, with one lap remaining, Chase Purdy spun on his own and brought out the final yellow and this took the race into overtime – setting up the crash-filled final lap which saw Fogelman winning.

“It was crazy,” said Fogleman. “I missed that first big wreck, got through the second one, and it felt like things were finally starting to go right finally on a superspeedway. I’d never finished a superspeedway race before. I had a good feeling about it. We lined up third there (for the final restart in overtime), and I knew we just had to be aggressive. … I got a push from behind, and we were able to do it.”

Nemechek, who was scored in fourth place, was the only one of eight Playoff drivers to finish in the top 10 in an event that left several drivers in the post-season in must-win positions for the Oct. 30 Round of 8 elimination race at Martinsville Speedway.

“I had a run, got by the 38 (Gilliland) and was trying to keep the 12 (Fogleman) in the mirror,” Nemechek said of the final lap. “He had a huge run through the tri-oval. He faked high and I went to block high, and then the block was a little too late, I guess. I should have stayed up and probably still would have won the race.

“Solid points day for us — 35 above the cut line, I think, or something like that going into Martinsville. Just have to survive and advance to get to the final four.”

The next Truck Series race will be run at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday, October 30th. This will be the sixth race in the seven race Truck Series playoffs.

• Click HERE for the Race Results

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