In a week full of firsts, we had one name fly under the radar among all of the fuss. Tate Fogleman and the move he used to win the race against John Hunter Nemechek has been forgotten among all the bigger headlines. I think we should take a quick look at Tate and exactly who this young man is and what his future in the sport might be after this underdog win.
Tate is a native of Durham, NC, and his racing stats can be traced back to 2016 where he raced in the Cars Tour for his family team. In his first season, to be frank, he was awful, wrecking consistently and while he had a few good runs where talent flashed, it was until the next season he began to put together a respectable run.
Grabbing a win and 7 top tens in 8 starts was enough to grab him a 3 race deal at Young’s Motorsports, but he had little to no success in his 2018 season in either the trucks or late models. This didn’t close any doors for him thankfully, and Young’s brought him on full-time for 2020 and 2021 where he currently only has 2 top tens and this lone win in 43 races.
For a team like Young’s Motorsports, getting a win or even a top ten is an accomplishment. It’s a team that has been around for years but hasn’t been able to take a step up into competition. To this day, the best season for the team has been from Austin Hill whose 2018 season had 6 top tens and an average finish of 15.8.
Fogleman’s win itself at Talladega probably would’ve gotten more attention for its controversial ending if it wasn’t for the Xfinity series immediately following it and ending in even more controversy. Coming to the checkers Fogleman out of desperation took John Hunter Nemechek out to win the race.
This move sits in a moral grey area for me. You have to consider the equipment and the driver when you see a guy wreck another. This is a team and driver that is scrapping to stay relevant and this could potentially be one of the few if only times they are in contention for the win.
It was intentional as Fogleman came up and continued up even after JHN was turning. The issue I have with this move is that it wasn’t completely necessary as there was still a chance Fogleman was going to beat him to the line on speed alone, but that goes back to the desperation and how bad he wanted it. He was willing to wreck a guy to ensure a win, and I can respect that on the last lap coming to the line.
This Talladega performance sums up my feelings on Fogleman this far in his career. He seems to have the raw talent that’s capable of being groomed, but right now he seems a bit wild like Noah Gragson was in his truck days. On that last lap, it was clear that the moment completely took him as that 12-car was jerking wildly around the track, and while he got the job done, it wasn’t the prettiest.
At 21, there is plenty of time for him to progress his career and if he’s lucky enough to latch onto a more competitive team I think a lot of that anxiety-fueled driving will dissipate with success becoming more common. Perhaps this win will open an opportunity with a larger truck team for 2022. There is something there that is worth experimenting with if I am a team looking for a development project.