Fist flying over the inner hole NASCAR’s Xfinity Series race in Martinsville. Rivals Sam Mayer and Ty Gibbs, grandson of Super Bowl-winning coach and NASCAR team owner Joe Gibbs, were the ones fighting the fight after Friday night’s race.
Gibbs led for most of the race but lost the lead to Brandon Jones in the final round. Trying to regain the lead and drive around Jones, he collided with Mayer, who crashed into Gibbs’ car from behind. 18-year-old Mayer pushed Gibbs into the wall and moved up a few places to cross the finish line, while Gibbs fell to eighth despite leading for most of the race.
The 19-year-old Gibbs was clearly annoyed after the checkered position and things escalated after they were both parked in the row. Gibbs quickly dashed into Mayer’s face and they yelled at each other before shoving and eventually clashing. Gibbs threw punches and grabbed Mayer’s head, who wasn’t wearing a helmet. Gibbs was still wearing his racing helmet when Mayer brought Gibbs to the ground, creating a large pile of both the racer’s team and NASCAR officials before being separated.
A NASCAR official was hurt in the brawl and was taken by stretcher to a hospital. The condition or injuries of that official aren’t known. NASCAR has yet to release a statement on the brawl or take any disciplinary action against either driver. It was smart of Mayer not to throw a punch at Gibbs while he was still wearing a helmet, with broken fingers a likely outcome for trying to swing at metal and plastic.
Mayer acknowledged the two had an off-camera conversation after the fight to cool things down and be professional moving forward. He added: “I just put the bumper to him. He came back over and he was upset and decided to throw a couple punches. … I was just trying to get his attention and he took it the wrong way. And he just snapped.”
Gibbs retorted on Fox Sports by saying “I tried to talk to him and he got all in my face. So at that point, we’ve got to start fighting.”