By: Ashley McCubbin
After crashing out of the first two events of the 2021 season, Nick Sanchez was able to score his first ARCA Menards Series top-five at Talladega Superspeedway.
It almost turned into an even better run, as he felt he was in position to take advantage in the final dash.
“When I got to the outside of the 23 (Bret Holmes), I was going to clear him, but the 20 (Corey Heim) just had to good of a run on the bottom and we just kind of got passed there and going into the tri-oval, we had to go to the outside and just timed it a little wrong on my part,” he explained. “Just kind of followed his tracks and stalled out there, but overall, a good day for my No. 2 Honda Generators, Max Siegel Inc. Chevrolet. I think top-five, top-three finish has been a long time coming for this team, so to get it here brings a lot of confidence.”
It wasn’t a totally smooth day, though, as a bump from his No. 2 Toyota to Gary Van Alst through the tri-oval triggered an incident with 14 laps to go.
“We were just racing really hard there. I got shuffled to the back on the restart, and just trying to march back to the front,” Sanchez told NEWS FROM THE PITS. “I was just trying to push the 35 (Van Alst) – guess he was a little loose, a little bad incident on my part; just got him loose and spun him on the tri-oval. I hate it for his day and everyone involved, but it’s just superspeedway racing. I’ve been on the other end and you just have to move on with things like that, but I feel bad for them.”
Otherwise, though, the young driver was able to listen to his spotter Tyler Green, who works with Kurt Busch in the NASCAR Cup Series, and take in lessons on how to take advantage of the draft, and put yourself in the best situation. It paid off at the beginning going from 23rd to third before the first yellow flag at Lap 10, and at the end with a third-place finish.
He was also able to execute something that may have been missing the first couple of weeks – patience.
“I feel I’ve showed a lot of that, hopefully a lot today,” he commented. “I didn’t think I could be that patient, but I hope I showed my team and other people that I can.”