Noah Gragson on Ty Gibbs: ‘I don’t like him’
PHOENIX — Noah Gragson took aim at fellow Xfinity Series title contender Ty Gibbs on Thursday, saying “I don’t like him” and that he’s tired of Gibbs running into people and apologizing.
Gragson also described Gibbs as “living in Fantasyland” and says the reason he hasn’t wrecked Gibbs for previous issues is because “I want to beat him straight up. It pisses him off a lot more.”
Gibbs acknowledged Thursday he made a mistake by wrecking teammate Brandon Jones for the win on the final lap of last weekend’s race at Martinsville. Jones needed to win to make the championship race. Gibbs would have easily advanced by finishing second.
By knocking Jones out of the way and out of the championship race, it allowed Justin Allgaier to take the final transfer spot. JR Motorsports will have three of the four cars vying for a championship Saturday (6 p.m. ET on USA Network) with Allgaier, Gragson and Josh Berry.
Gibbs said he and Jones talked this week but declined to reveal what was said.
“I can completely understand where he’s coming from,” Gibbs said Thursday during NASCAR’s championship media day at the Phoenix Convention Center. “I accept it. I’m the one that did that and put us in that position. … I made that mistake.”
Gibbs said he was “caught in the moment” racing Jones and why he wrecked him.
Gibbs said that any retaliation from Jones was not addressed in their talk.
“If that’s the course of action he wants to take, I can’t control that,” Gibbs said. “I can only do the best I can in the present and work as hard as I can to change things and situations and be more aware in the future.”
Gibbs said he understands how his actions impacted so many.
“If I could redo it … I would,” he said. “It’s hard for me because I have to live with it now. We could have had two JGR cars in the Championship Four and I took that out. I took 50% of Toyota’s championship and JGR’s championship away (by my) actions, so I have to move forward and do the best to fix these things.”
It’s such comments that bother Gragson.
“I’m just sick and tired of ‘I’m sorry, trying to learn’ deal,” Gragson said of Gibbs. “It’s been two years.
“I haven’t brought this up yet. He runs us into the fence (at Martinsville in a late restart). … You start to keep that in your back pocket. Definitely over, I think, all of us of being a pinball in this series.”
Asked if he thought Gibbs would race less aggressively Saturday because of all the eyes on him after his actions at Martinsville, Gragson said: “He doesn’t care. He lives in Fantasyland.”
Gragson said he’s talked with Gibbs in the past when they had a conflict.
“I had a conversation with him at Gateway, let him know where I stood and let him know if he continues this up what the consequences are,” Gragson said. “He knows where I’m at. He’s known it all year. It’s calmed down a little bit. I think all these guys try to gain respect from their competitors and can’t agree with that for him.”