Saturday, October 1, 2022

TRUCKS: Jordan Anderson airlifted to local hospital after fire invades the cockpit in early laps at Talladega

PHOTO: @j66anderson

by Brock Beard Editor-in-Chief

Jordan Anderson picked up the 2nd last-place finish of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career in Saturday’s Chevy Silverado 250 at the Talladega Superspeedway when his #3 Dometic Outdoor Chevrolet was involved in a fiery single-truck accident after 18 of 95 laps.

The finish, which came in Anderson’s 138th series start, was his first of the season and first in a Truck Series race since July 20, 2016 at Eldora, 147 races ago. In the Truck Series’ last-place rankings, it was the 2nd for the #3, the 178th from a crash, and the 428th for Chevrolet. Across NASCAR’s top three series, it was the 29th for the #3, the 1,308th from a crash, and the 1,862nd for Chevrolet.

Since he was last featured on this website, Jordan Anderson has grown his own race team by leaps and bounds, expanding first into a full-time Truck Series effort, then a full-time program in XFINITY. His longtime sponsor Bommarito Automotive Group teamed with him in 2018, when he first campaigned the #3 with a 9th-place showing at Daytona. In the years that followed, he’d come agonizingly close to his first career win at the track, taking 2nd in both 2020 and 2021. 

The ’21 season saw Anderson’s expansion into the XFINITY Series, where the use of metric qualifying in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic limited him to just six starts, including a career-best 5th at Talladega. This year, Anderson has handed the wheel of his XFINITY ride to Myatt Snider, who brought sponsor Tax Slayer from his previous ride at Richard Childress Racing. Coming into this weekend, Snider nearly scored his second career win in a rain-soaked Portland race, where he finished runner-up to A.J. Allmendinger. Anderson’s only XFINITY attempt as a driver this year came in a joint effort with AM Racing at Michigan, where a slip in qualifying kept him out of the show.

Since his XFINITY expansion, Anderson has scaled back to only a part-time effort in the Truck Series, but has remained a contender for his first series win. Last year at Darlington, he avoided much of the night’s chaos to finish 10th – his first top-ten in the series on a non-superspeedway. With new sponsorship from Dometic Outdoor, Anderson missed the field for this year’s Daytona race, then after a crash at Las Vegas came into Talladega with three consecutive finishes of 18th or better, most recently a 16th in Gateway.

With no practice at Talladega, Anderson needed to put up a big lap in qualifying and did, securing a career-best 9th on the grid with a speed of 175.600mph (54.533 seconds). Missing the show were Tim Viens in his co-owned #46 Turning Point USA Toyota for G2G Racing, 2019 Talladega winner Spencer Boyd in the #12 Alabama Roofing Professionals Chevrolet, and Reaume Brothers Racing teammates Jason White in the #33 Lakeside Heffley Hideaway Toyota and Natalie Decker in the #43 Diesel Beverages Toyota.

Securing the 36th and final starting spot was Kaden Honeycutt, who raced On Point Motorsports’ #30 Rangeline Group Toyota with a heavy heart following the passing of his grandfather on Tuesday. No drivers joined him in the back for pre-race penalties, so Honeycutt took the green in last place, 3.447 seconds behind the leader.

By the end of Lap 1, Honeycutt had climbed to 32nd, dropping Jennifer Jo Cobb to last in her first start of the 2022 season, following a pair of DNQs at Daytona and Nashville. Cobb’s #10 Fastener Supply Company Chevrolet remained in the spot until Lap 4, when Bryan Dauzat dropped 0.307 second behind her in his #28 FDNY / National Police Association Chevrolet for Jim Rosenblum’s returning FDNY Racing. Enthusiastic over the radio, Dauzat shouted “Truck’s good. Truck’s real good,” and decided to hang back while the field sorted itself out. But Dauzat’s truck also drafted well, and on Lap 5 had dropped to last XFINITY Series standout Parker Retzlaff, making his Truck Series debut in Randy Young’s #20 Funkaway Chevrolet. Dauzat then picked up debris on his grille, bringing the water temperature to 245 degrees, and dropped back behind Retzlaff on Lap 6. The two were side-by-side the next two laps, and on the 7th circuit were in a dead heat at the stripe, tied past the thousandth of a second with Retzlaff credited with last place.

As Dauzat cleared the debris from his nose, his battle with Retzlaff continued. Retzlaff pulled ahead on Lap 9 and opened up an advantage of 0.232 second, but by Lap 14, Dauzat had rocketed back to 34th, passing both Retzlaff and teammate Kaz Grala in the #02 RandCo Chevrolet. That time by, Clay Greenfield made an unscheduled pit stop in Cook Racing Technologies’ #84 Backyard Blues Pools Toyota. Greenfield, another driver making his first start of the 2022 season, was back up to speed on Lap 15, when he took over last a full 48.005 seconds back of the lead. Stranded without drafting help, the field immediately rushed past, putting him the first truck one lap down. The crew remained calm, reminding him he’d get his lap back soon at the end of Stage 1. One of the last trucks to catch Greenfield was Cobb, whose #10 had fallen 1.249 seconds back of now 34th-place Bryan Dauzat.

Then on Lap 19, Greenfield’s spotter said, “Got a smoker up front – got one on fire,” and told him to watch for fluid and a truck spinning to the middle of the track. This was Jordan Anderson, who after his strong qualifying run was still in the Top Five, just 0.325 seconds back of the lead behind Carson Hocevar. Entering Turn 1 in the low lane, a fuel line came loose in the engine, and the truck erupted in flames from behind both front wheels. Anderson dropped the window net as he slowed and pulled to the apron, then was beginning to climb from the window an instant before the truck slammed the inside wall. Anderson climbed on the barrier, then fell as he hopped back onto the track. He was quickly attended to by emergency crews, who brought him to the infield care center, then airlifted him to a local hospital in Birmingham. He was reported to be awake and alert. After 60 laps of the following XFINITY race, Anderson was reported to have suffered minor burns to his neck, left arm, and knee and was expected to be discharged in the evening.

Anderson took over last on Lap 20, becoming at least the fourth driver to finish last in a Truck Series race after a fire invaded the cockpit. The previous instances were Hailie Deegan at Atlanta, Dean Thompson at Martinsville, and Spencer Boyd at IRP.

The next three trucks eliminated were involved in a bizarre series of incidents that began when Lawless Alan’s #45 AUTOParkIt Chevrolet blew a right-front tire in Turn 3 and slammed the outside wall, causing a piece of debris to embed itself in the front valence of teammate Carson Hocevar’s #42 Worldwide Express Chevrolet. On the same lap, Bryan Dauzat suffered heavy right-front damage to his truck, which may or may not have been from contact with Dean Thompson, whose #40 WWEX Racing Chevrolet had damage to the left-front and right-rear. Alan climbed from his truck, which was towed behind the wall. Dauzat made it to pit road, where his truck stalled as their “Crash Clock” expired, eliminating him under the DVP. What happened to Thompson’s truck wasn’t televised, though he did not make it back to pit road and was checked and released from the infield care center with teammate Alan.

With two races to go, Thompson now retakes the lead in the 2022 LASTCAR Truck Series standings by a single bottom-ten finish over Spencer Boyd, who failed to qualify.

Rounding out the Bottom Five was Jennifer Jo Cobb, who had clutch issues from the start of the race and was ultimately eliminated when the starter failed near the end of the race.

DiBenedetto wins first NASCAR national series race over surprising Bret Holmes

Seconds before a photo finish between Bret Holmes and Matt DiBenedetto, NASCAR threw the caution for an accident in the tri-oval. Holmes’ #32 Golden Eagle Syrup Chevrolet reached the finish line first by mere thousandths of a second, which would have been Holmes’ first win in just his 14th series start. But NASCAR ruled that at the moment of caution, DiBenedetto’s #25 Rackley Roofing Chevrolet was out front, giving him his own first NASCAR national series win after 248 Cup starts, 69 in XFINITY, and 21 – all of this season’s – in Trucks. Holmes ended up taking 3rd, still his first Top Five after a previous career mark of 8th this year in Las Vegas.

Colby Howard picked up a career-best 8th in the #91 Gates Hydraulics Chevrolet, recovering from at least one spin off Turn 4 to improve on his previous best mark of 9th at both Mid-Ohio and Kansas. 

Kaden Honeycutt charged from last on the grid to take home a career-best of his own in 11th in this, only his seventh series start. His previous best of 13th was the very last race at Bristol.

And in the #84 team’s first-ever start of the season, Clay Greenfield finished in 12th, his best run since the 2019 opener at Daytona, where he also ran 12th. His career-best remains a 8th-place finish at the Talladega race in 2017.

Jay Sauter's truck losing the engine at Richmond, September 9, 1999.
SCREENSHOT: ESPN2, race posted by Dave W

*This marked the first last-place finish for the #3 in a Truck Series race since September 9, 1999, when Jay Sauter’s run in Richard Childress’ #3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Chevrolet ended with a blown engine after 60 laps at Richmond. The #3 had never finished last in a Truck Series race at Talladega.
*This is also the first last-place finish for Jordan Anderson’s own Truck Series team.

36) #3-Jordan Anderson / 18 laps / crash
35) #28-Bryan Dauzat / 32 laps / dvp
34) #40-Dean Thompson / 32 laps / crash
33) #45-Lawless Alan / 32 laps / crash
32) #10-Jennifer Jo Cobb / 73 laps / clutch

1st) G2G Racing (4)
2nd) Niece Motorsports, Reaume Brothers Racing, Young’s Motorsports (3)
3rd) AM Racing, David Gilliland Racing (2)
4th) Front Row Motorsports, Halmar Friesen Racing, Jordan Anderson Racing, McAnally-Hilgemann Racing (1)

1st) Chevrolet (11)
2nd) Toyota (6)
3rd) Ford (3)


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