NASCAR pit crew member is HIT by Craftsman Truck series driver Zane Smith… but miraculously shrugs off the collision and walks away

Reigning NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Champion Zane Smith accidentally hit a member of his pit crew at Talladega on Saturday.

Smith pulled into his pit spot when the truck appeared to lose control as he tried to turn and slide sideways to his stop.

Crew member Charles Plank, a tire transporter, was entering the team’s pit box during the first stop of the day when the accident occurred.

However, Plank took the blow like a champ and amazingly landed on his feet, immediately shaking it off like superman before walking back to the truck to continue his duties.

“I thought I could clean it up, but I didn’t.” Plank said after the incident. “But it seems I almost jumped over it. I’m glad I made it on the deck lid instead of crawling under it.’

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Champion Zane Smith hit a member of his pit crew

Smith's truck spun out before hitting his tire carrier named Charles Plank in pit road

Smith’s truck spun out before hitting his tire carrier named Charles Plank in pit road

A camera angle from the car shows Plank fully stepping onto the truck and sending it into the air

A camera angle from the car shows Plank fully stepping onto the truck and sending it into the air

“We’re ready for the next stop.”

Smith also spoke about the incident after the race, saying, “I feel terrible about that, so that wasn’t a great start.”

‘And when it rolled off pit road through the backstretch, my clutch started slipping and it just kept getting worse and worse. So fight that and change the clutch to go back out.

‘It’s just such a downer. It’s a tricky situation here. ”

One lap after the accident, Smith’s No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford experienced clutch problems and made multiple pit road stops before going behind the wall for more extensive repairs.

He returned to the track in the final laps and moved up two finishing positions in the race standings to save some points.

However, Smith fell to last place in the championship standings, 36 points behind Sanchez at the cutoff line and had to win at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Brett Moffitt made it a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series start to remember, making an astonishing three-wide move forward during an overtime restart to claim the win in Saturday’s Love’s RV Stop 250 at Talladega ( Ala.) Superspeedway – the former series champion. first series race of the 2023 season that ended in his first superspeedway win.

Miraculously, he shrugged off the blow and walked away before returning to his normal duties

Miraculously, he shrugged off the blow and walked away before returning to his normal duties

It was a typically dramatic day on Talladega’s 4.26-mile high banks, requiring an overtime restart to wrap up the busy day of competition. Moffitt restarted on the front row alongside NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Playoff driver Christian Eckes after a 10-truck accident with two laps remaining in regulation time, forcing the OT finish.

Eckes moved up the track to block Moffitt from a run, but the veteran Moffitt deftly dropped his No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford to the center of the track and pulled away to a 0.099-second victory over Playoff driver Ben Rhodes, while Eckes lost momentum. , drifted backwards and finished 19th.

All eight Talladega Truck Playoff races have now been won by non-Playoff drivers.

“It’s pretty awesome,” said the 31-year-old Moffitt, the 2018 series champion. “I’ve especially struggled on the superspeedways in the past and was scared to go there. But this was a full-pressure situation that Front Row gave me to go out and try to help a teammate. Obviously that didn’t work for that group. But to come here and have a chance to win and do that is just amazing.

“It reminds me of the good old days and I want to do this regularly again, so we’ll see what happens.”

It was a particularly dramatic day for the eight Playoff drivers still vying for one of the four championship-eligible positions in the November 3 final. Among them, Rhodes was the best finishing driver, even though he did not lead a lap on Saturday.

“With this style of racing you never know what to expect,” said Rhodes, driver of the No. 99 ThorSport Ford. “Overall, very happy to have finished second. We needed this for a points day. I think we were seven points ahead last year when we came to Homestead and we made it to the Championship Four. We’re eight down now, so we did what it took to be just one spot short. It would have been a real luxury to lock ourselves away today.”

TRICON Garage driver Dean Thompson finished third with Rackley WAR Racing’s Chandler Smith and championship leader TRICON Garage’s Corey Heim rounding out the top five.

There were only three Playoff drivers in the top 10 and that was a real effort for Nick Sanchez, who finished in seventh place. Although the Rev Racing driver dominated much of the afternoon, winning a stage and leading a race-best 25 laps on the day, he was handed a ‘pass through’ penalty for changing lanes on a restart with 32 laps remaining to go, which put him back in the race. the field. He made his way back to the front in the No. 2 Chevrolet, but was involved in the final multi-car accident that forced an overtime restart.

He still finished seventh and after earning 19 stage points that day while so many other Playoff drivers were also involved in incidents, he improved his position in the standings and will head into the next race – on October 21 at Homestead-Miami Speedway . He is in fourth place, three points ahead of fifth-place Grant Enfinger. The top four ranked drivers after the Homestead race will advance to the championship round on Nov. 3 at Phoenix Raceway.

GMS Racing driver Enfinger was also one of the Playoff participants who were involved in several accidents that afternoon. He finished 13th. Niece Motorsport’s Carson Hocevar finished eleventh. ThorSport’s Ty Majeski placed 21st.

Heim is the only Playoff driver to have already secured a position in the Championship Four thanks to his victory in Bristol, Tennessee. Hocevar leads the points standings – up 23 points in fifth place. Eckes is third and Sanchez fourth.

Enfinger (minus-3) is in fifth place, followed by Rhodes (minus-5), Majeski (minus-19) and Smith (minus-36).

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Playoffs continue Oct. 21 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, with the top four drivers in the post-championship-deciding race standings in the Nov. 3 season finale in Phoenix. Majeski is the defending winner of the Homestead-Miami race.

After the race, an incident occurred in the garage between 47-year-old former series champion Matt Crafton and 22-year-old Rookie of the Year Sanchez, leaving Sanchez’s face bloodied. NASCAR is investigating the situation and will announce its findings and possible sanctions next week.