Brandon Jones won the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Martinsville, despite a 20-car pile-up and a skirmish on pit road between Sam Mayer and Ty Gibbs.
Martinsville Speedway is a classic short track with plenty of bumping and smashing, but the NASCAR Xfinity Series was arguably a little too enthusiastic in that regard. For much of the field, Friday night’s Call 811 Before You Dig 250 looked to be about excavating graves, as fourteen caution flags were waved for mishaps, including a big pile-up at the start of overtime that gathered fourteen cars.
Brandon Jones fought off teammate Ty Gibbs for the win before getting into a scuffle with Sam Mayer after final-lap contact, adding to the midnight pyrotechnics.
“What a day. I can’t say that we could have called it any better,” said Jones.
“We made the call to stay out for stage points and drove the thing all the way from the back to the front. We had older tyres than all of the guys at the end.”
“This is a driver’s race track here. I’ve won at a lot of different places now, but this is one that you really have to get after it.”
“Ty ran a really hard race. He cleared me really early there in stage three and he had a strong GR Supra as well. It was fun to beat him. He’s hot right now and tough to beat. This was a good one.”
Gibbs took the pole, and the tone was set even before the race started, when rain caused a delay just moments after the signal to fire engines was given. When the race finally started, Brennan Poole’s car broke down after only one lap.
The opening stage had less yellows compared to following stages, as Howie DiSavino III was responsible for the only other warning when his driveshaft cracked. Gibbs finished ahead of Justin Allgaier, Ryan Truex, Landon Cassill, Daniel Hemric, A.J. Allmendinger, Jones, Josh Berry, Mayer, and Sheldon Creed at the end of the race.
Jade Buford, Stefan Parsons, and Derek Griffith went around in Stage #2, with Parsons doing so after colliding with Joe Graf Jr., who would later be involved in a number of collisions, and Griffith colliding with Anthony Alfredo. Jones would win the section over Cassill, Ryan Sieg, Brandon Brown, David Starr, Alfredo, Parsons, Jeremy Clements, Riley Herbst, and Shane Lee due to late pit stops.
The penultimate phase could be described as all hell breaking loose, with eleven cautions issued, the most of which were for single-car spins caused by bumps from other cars.
All four JR Motorsports cars were involved in an incident, with team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. spinning staffer Berry, who was making his annual one-off start. With eight laps to go, Earnhardt Jr. went around to force overtime.
When Mayer missed a shift while commencing second and stacked up the outside line, the next green flag merely resulted in a parking lot. Noah Gragson, a JRM teammate, started on the inside but came up short and was clipped by Mayer.
Gragson and Mayer, Alfredo, Allmendinger, Berry, Brown, Griffith, Herbst, Jeb Burton, Bayley Currey, Austin Hill, Mason Massey, Myatt Snider, and Kyle Weatherman were among the fourteen drivers involved.
For the second overtime effort, Gibbs and Jones were in the front row. Despite Jones’ best efforts on the inside, Gibbs was able to keep him at bay and seize the white flag.
Gibbs was shuffled back into a three-wide run with Mayer and Cassill, and the situation ended with Gibbs sandwiched between Mayer and the wall. Jones tried again via the inner groove exiting turn two and cleared him in turns three and four as Gibbs was shuffled back into a three-wide run with Mayer and Cassill, and the situation ended with Gibbs sandwiched between Mayer and the wall.
Jones raced away for his first victory of the season, his sixth in Xfinity, and his first since Darlington in 2020.
Gibbs was seventh, and Mayer was fifth, advancing the latter to the next round of the Dash 4 Cash. Gibbs vented his rage by colliding with Mayer on the cooling lap. Gibbs confronted Mayer as they exited their cars on pit road, and their argument developed into shoving until Gibbs, who was still wearing his helmet while Mayer had removed his, unleashed many blows.
As crewmen and officials arrived to break up the altercation, Mayer attempted to tackle Gibbs, and the two slumped over.
After getting caught in the dogpile, a NASCAR official was stretchered away from the scene, however he was later released from the infield medical center.
“I tried to talk to him and then he got up in my face and at that point you have to start fighting,” explained Gibbs.
“We got put in a bad position there and the only thing I’m mad about is that the #1 (Mayer) didn’t have anything or wasn’t going to get past the #16 (Allmendinger) there and then I got hit in the left rear.”
“It’s just frustrating and I got drove in the fence again, but I was on the other side of it last week. It’s just part of it.”
Mayer told FOX Sports’ Bob Pockrass, “$100 grand on the line, put a bumper to him, that’s what short track racing’s all about. He got upset and… ‘short track racing and all that nonsense,’ so that’s whatever.” The “short track racing” remark was given with a nasal voice, intending to parody Denny Hamlin‘s (a Joe Gibbs Racing driver like Gibbs) sarcastic remark about Joey Logano following their fight at the 2019 fall Martinsville Cup race.
“He threw a couple of punches. They were weak, so I can’t say much about that.”
Before the conference finished, Gibbs and Mayer were sent to NASCAR’s hauler, where they “[shook] hands on their own accord,” according to Jordan Bianchi of The Athletic. The sanctioning body’s penalties will be made public later this week.
|1||12||19||Brandon Jones||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||261||Running|
|2||7||10||Landon Cassill||Kaulig Racing||Chevrolet||261||Running|
|3||13||16||A.J. Allmendinger||Kaulig Racing||Chevrolet||261||Running|
|4||14||21||Austin Hill||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||261||Running|
|5||21||1||Sam Mayer||JR Motorsports||Chevrolet||261||Running|
|6||11||98||Riley Herbst||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||261||Running|
|7||4||18||Ryan Truex||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||261||Running|
|8||1||54||Ty Gibbs||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||261||Running|
|9||8||39||Ryan Sieg||RSS Racing||Ford||261||Running|
|10||15||51||Jeremy Clements||Jeremy Clements Racing||Chevrolet||261||Running|
|11||30||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||JR Motorsports||Chevrolet||261||Running|
|12||20||38||Parker Retzlaff||RSS Racing||Ford||261||Running|
|13||9||11||Daniel Hemric||Kaulig Racing||Chevrolet||261||Running|
|14||16||23||Anthony Alfredo||Our Motorsports||Chevrolet||261||Running|
|15||18||36||Alex Labbé||DGM Racing||Chevrolet||261||Running|
|16||27||34||Kyle Weatherman||Jesse Iwuji Motorsports||Chevrolet||261||Running|
|17||29||4||Bayley Currey||JD Motorsports||Chevrolet||261||Running|
|18||37||5||Matt Mills||B.J. McLeod Motorsports||Chevrolet||261||Running|
|19||10||8||Josh Berry||JR Motorsports||Chevrolet||261||Running|
|20||3||9||Noah Gragson||JR Motorsports||Chevrolet||261||Running|
|21||36||26||Derek Griffith||Sam Hunt Racing||Toyota||261||Running|
|22||31||48||Jade Buford||Big Machine Racing Team||Chevrolet||260||Running|
|23||35||08||David Starr||SS-Green Light Racing||Ford||260||Running|
|24||19||31||Myatt Snider||Jordan Anderson Racing||Chevrolet||260||Running|
|25||34||6||Ryan Vargas||JD Motorsports||Chevrolet||260||Running|
|26||24||07||Joe Graf Jr.||SS-Green Light Racing||Ford||260||Running|
|27||28||35||Shane Lee||Emerling-Gase Motorsports||Ford||260||Running|
|28||23||99||Stefan Parsons||B.J. McLeod Motorsports||Chevrolet||260||Running|
|29||2||7||Justin Allgaier||JR Motorsports||Chevrolet||260||Running|
|30||5||2||Sheldon Creed||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||259||Running|
|31||33||66||J.J. Yeley||MBM Motorsports||Toyota||259||Running|
|32||25||27||Jeb Burton||Our Motorsports||Chevrolet||255||Accident|
|33||26||91||Mason Massey||DGM Racing||Chevrolet||255||DVP|
|34||17||68||Brandon Brown||Brandonbilt Motorsports||Chevrolet||250||Accident|
|35||38||28||Natalie Decker||RSS Racing||Ford||242||Running|
|36||22||44||Howie DiSavino III||Alpha Prime Racing||Chevrolet||37||Driveshaft|
|37||6||02||Brett Moffitt||Our Motorsports||Chevrolet||13||Driveshaft|
|38||32||47||Brennan Poole||Mike Harmon Racing||Chevrolet||0||Clutch|
|DNQ||45||Ryan Ellis||Alpha Prime Racing||Chevrolet|
|DNQ||77||Ronnie Bassett Jr.||Bassett Racing||Chevrolet|
|DNQ||13||Chad Finchum||MBM Motorsports||Toyota|
|DNQ||78||Josh Williams||B.J. McLeod Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|DNQ||52||Harrison Rhodes||Jimmy Means Racing||Chevrolet|