Brandon Jones celebrates Martinsville win as Gibbs, Mayer fight

Martinsville Speedway is a classic short track where bumping and banging are to be expected, but the NASCAR Xfinity Series was perhaps too eager in that department. Friday night’s Call 811 Before You Dig 250 seemed to refer to digging graves for much of the field as fourteen caution flags were flown for incidents, including a massive pile-up at the start of overtime that collected fourteen cars. A wild scramble to the finish only added to the nighttime fireworks as Brandon Jones held off team-mate Ty Gibbs for the win before Gibbs got into a brawl with Sam Mayer regarding final-lap contact.

Gibbs won the pole and the tone was set even before the race began as rain resulted in a delay moments after the command was given to fire engines. When the race finally began, it only lasted a single lap before Brennan Poole‘s car failed. Compared to later segments, the first stage was relatively scant on yellows as Howie DiSavino III was responsible for the only other caution when his driveshaft broke. By the end, Gibbs led Justin Allgaier, Ryan Truex, Landon Cassill, Daniel Hemric, AJ AllmendingerJones, Josh BerryMayer, and Sheldon Creed.

Stage #2 saw Jade Buford, Stefan Parsonsand Derek Griffith go around, with Parsons doing so after contact from Joe Graf Jr. who would be involved in a number of later collisions, while Griffith was the victim of a bump with Anthony Alfredo. Due to late pit stops, Jones would take the segment ahead of Cassill, Ryan Sieg, Brandon Brown, David StarrAlfredo, Parsons, Jeremy Clements, Riley Herbstand Shane Lee.

The final segment could be described as all hell breaking loose as ten cautions occurred, many of which were for single-car spins brought upon by bumps from others. All four JR Motorsports were involved in an incident, perhaps notably team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr.—who was making his annual one-off start—spinning employee Berry. Earnhardt himself went around with eight laps remaining to set up overtime. The ensuing green flag only resulted in a parking lot when Mayer missed a shift while restarting second and stacked up the outside line. JRM team-mate Noah Gragson restarted on the inside but came up and was clipped by Mayer. Officially, fourteen drivers were involved: Gragson and Mayer, Alfredo, Allmendinger, Berry, Brown, Griffith, Herbst, Jeb Burton, Bayley Currey, Austin Hill, Mason Massey, Myatt Sniderand Kyle Weatherman.

Gibbs and Jones comprised the front row for the second overtime attempt. Despite an effort on the inside by Jones, Gibbs kept him at bay to take the white flag. Jones tried again via the inner groove exiting turn two and successfully cleared him in turns three and four as Gibbs was shuffled back into a three-wide run with Mayer and Cassill, and the situation concluded with Gibbs being sandwiched between Mayer and the wall.

Jones pulled away to take his first win of the year, fifth in his Xfinity career, and first since Darlington in 2020.

“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 tires 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.”

Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Meanwhile, Gibbs finished eighth and Mayer fifth, which advanced the latter to the next round of the Dash 4 Cash. Gibbs expressed his frustration by bumping into Mayer on the cooldown lap. Upon exiting their cars on pit road, Gibbs confronted Mayer: their conversation escalated into shoving before Gibbs—still wearing his helmet while Mayer had removed his—threw multiple punches. Mayer attempted to tackle Gibbs and the two fell over as crewmen and officials arrived to break up the scuffle.

A NASCAR official was stretchered away from the scene after being caught in the dogpile, though he was released from the infield medical centre. Gibbs and Mayer were called to NASCAR’s hauler before the meeting ended with what The Athletic‘s Jordan Bianchi reported as them “[shaking] hands on their own accord”. Any penalties imposed by the sanctioning body will be released later in the week.

“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 Pockerss, “$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.”

Race results

Finish Start Number Driver Team Manufacturer Laps Status
1 12 19 Brandon Jones Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 261 Running
2 7 10 Landon Cassill Kaulig Racing Chevrolet 261 Running
3 13 16 AJ 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 15th 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
15th 18 36 Alex Labé 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 BJ 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 BJ 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 JJ 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 BJ McLeod Motorsports Chevrolet
DNQ 52 Harrison Rhodes Jimmy Means Racing Chevrolet
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