Martinsville Xfinity: Brandon Jones wins; Ty Gibbs, Sam Mayer in post-race fight
A wild Friday night at Martinsville Speedway ended in a NASCAR Xfinity Series win for Brandon Jones and a fight on pit road between Ty Gibbs and Sam Mayer.
Jones outdueled teammate Gibbs in double overtime to claim his first win of the season after Gibbs had led a race-high 197 of 261 laps (scheduled distance of 250 laps).
But as Jones pulled away from Gibbs to the checkered flag, Gibbs and Sam Mayer made contact off Turn 4. And while Jones and his team celebrated, Gibbs and Mayer squared up in the pits.
Gibbs and Mayer’s clash on the final lap benefited several drivers. Landon Cassill finished second, followed by AJ Allmendinger Austin Hill in fourth. Mayer held on for fifth, while Gibbs settled for eighth.
Allmendinger won the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus, beating Mayer, Riley Herbst and Gibbs.
Jones, Cassill, Allmendinger and Hill will compete for the next Dash bonus at Talladega Superspeedway.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. overcame a late-race spin to finish 11th.
Following an initial conversation, Gibbs pushed Mayer and walked away. But Mayer took his helmet off and walked back toward Gibbs. Mayer then pushed Gibbs twice, in the helmet and in the chest, before Gibbs started throwing punches.
The ensuing scrum drew in NASCAR officials and crew members, who eventually broke them up.
“I tried to talk to him and he got all up in my face,” Gibbs told Fox Sports afterwards. “So, at that point, we’ve gotta start fighting. We got put in a bad position there. The only thing I’m mad about is ... He wasn’t gonna get past the 16 (AJ Allmendinger) and I just got hit in the left rear.
“It’s just frustrating. I just got driven in the fence at the end. But I was on the other side of it last week, so that’s just part of it.”
Mayer said that once he knew a race win was out of reach, he put the bumper to Gibbs in an attempt to claim the $100,000 Dash for Cash bonus on the line.
“I had $100,000 in my sights and I was gonna do what I had to do to try and get that,” he explained. “I put the bumper to him - in my opinion, and we talked in the trailer, it was just a clean bump-and-run - and the 10 (Landon Cassill) kinda stuck it in there and kinda got us both crossed up and that’s kinda when it went to crap.
“I put the bumper to him. He came back over and he was upset and decided to throw a couple punches, but that’s fine by me. We talked about it. We’ll be good going forward, especially at Talladega (in two weeks). That’s a place where you don’t want to be enemies, so we’re gonna move on and be A-OK, keep our head down and go out and try to get a win next time.”
Meanwhile, Jones was jubilant.
“What a day - I can’t say we could’ve played it out any better,” Jones told Fox Sports. “I love the call that we made to get stage points (staying out under caution and winning Stage 2 on a one-lap run), drove the thing all the way from the back to the front. I had older tires than all those guys at the end.”
The finale was set up on a restart with eight laps left in the scheduled distance.
Josh Berry and Jeremy Clements attempted to out-brake each other into Turn 1, but ended up spinning Earnhardt instead in his lone Xfinity Series start of the season.
That pushed the race into overtime, with Gibbs on the inside and Mayer on the outside for the first OT attempt.
But Mayer appeared to miss a shift on the restart. Allmendinger hit Mayer from behind, then Mayer got into JR Motorsports teammate Noah Gragson to set off a major wreck that brought out the red flag.
Nearly 20 minutes later, the engines were re-fired ahead of the second OT attempt.
On the restart, Jones made contact with Gibbs entering Turn 1, but Gibbs was able to clear for the lead.
The race seemed settled, but Jones got another run coming to the white flag and worked his way past Gibbs on the inside.
STAGE 1 WINNER: Ty Gibbs
STAGE 2 WINNER: Brandon Jones
WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Ryan Truex overcame a mid-race spin to finish seventh in his second start of the season in Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 Toyota. ... Jeremy Clements finished 10th to post his first top-10 of the season.
WHO HAD A BAD RACE: A solid night for Matt Mills (BJ McLeod Motorsports) went south on a restart at Lap 179. Mills took the restart fifth, but contact from behind by Herbst sent him into the Turn 3 wall. Mills could only rally to 18th by the finish.
NOTABLE: Jones snapped a 50-race winless streak with his victory Friday. His most recent win had been at Darlington in September 2020.
NEXT: Talladega Superspeedway - Saturday, Apr. 23, 4 p.m. ET on FOX