NASCAR Xfinity Series

Brandon Jones celebrates Martinsville win as Gibbs, Mayer fight

4 Mins read
Credit: Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

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, A.J. Allmendinger, Jones, Josh Berry, Mayer, and Sheldon Creed.

Stage #2 saw Jade Buford, Stefan Parsons, and 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 Starr, Alfredo, Parsons, Jeremy Clements, Riley Herbst, and 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 Snider, and 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 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.”

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 subsequently 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 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.”

Race results

FinishStartNumberDriverTeamManufacturerLapsStatus
11219Brandon JonesJoe Gibbs RacingToyota261Running
2710Landon CassillKaulig RacingChevrolet261Running
31316A.J. AllmendingerKaulig RacingChevrolet261Running
41421Austin HillRichard Childress RacingChevrolet261Running
5211Sam MayerJR MotorsportsChevrolet261Running
61198Riley HerbstStewart-Haas RacingFord261Running
7418Ryan TruexJoe Gibbs RacingToyota261Running
8154Ty GibbsJoe Gibbs RacingToyota261Running
9839Ryan SiegRSS RacingFord261Running
101551Jeremy ClementsJeremy Clements RacingChevrolet261Running
113088Dale Earnhardt Jr.JR MotorsportsChevrolet261Running
122038Parker RetzlaffRSS RacingFord261Running
13911Daniel HemricKaulig RacingChevrolet261Running
141623Anthony AlfredoOur MotorsportsChevrolet261Running
151836Alex LabbéDGM RacingChevrolet261Running
162734Kyle WeathermanJesse Iwuji MotorsportsChevrolet261Running
17294Bayley CurreyJD MotorsportsChevrolet261Running
18375Matt MillsB.J. McLeod MotorsportsChevrolet261Running
19108Josh BerryJR MotorsportsChevrolet261Running
2039Noah GragsonJR MotorsportsChevrolet261Running
213626Derek GriffithSam Hunt RacingToyota261Running
223148Jade BufordBig Machine Racing TeamChevrolet260Running
233508David StarrSS-Green Light RacingFord260Running
241931Myatt SniderJordan Anderson RacingChevrolet260Running
25346Ryan VargasJD MotorsportsChevrolet260Running
262407Joe Graf Jr.SS-Green Light RacingFord260Running
272835Shane LeeEmerling-Gase MotorsportsFord260Running
282399Stefan ParsonsB.J. McLeod MotorsportsChevrolet260Running
2927Justin AllgaierJR MotorsportsChevrolet260Running
3052Sheldon CreedRichard Childress RacingChevrolet259Running
313366J.J. YeleyMBM MotorsportsToyota259Running
322527Jeb BurtonOur MotorsportsChevrolet255Accident
332691Mason MasseyDGM RacingChevrolet255DVP
341768Brandon BrownBrandonbilt MotorsportsChevrolet250Accident
353828Natalie DeckerRSS RacingFord242Running
362244Howie DiSavino IIIAlpha Prime RacingChevrolet37Driveshaft
37602Brett MoffittOur MotorsportsChevrolet13Driveshaft
383247Brennan PooleMike Harmon RacingChevrolet0Clutch
DNQ45Ryan EllisAlpha Prime RacingChevrolet
DNQ77Ronnie Bassett Jr.Bassett RacingChevrolet
DNQ13Chad FinchumMBM MotorsportsToyota
DNQ78Josh WilliamsB.J. McLeod MotorsportsChevrolet
DNQ52Harrison RhodesJimmy Means RacingChevrolet
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Justin is a History major at San Jose State University and lifelong racing fan who has worked for The Checkered Flag since 2018. His coverage mainly focuses on NASCAR, the Stadium Super Trucks, and off-road series like Extreme E and SCORE International. He also dabbles in other disciplines such as IndyCar, rallycross, and sports cars.
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