NASCAR drivers are known for trading paint during a race, but Ty Gibbs and Sam Mayer traded punches Friday night.
The two drivers fought on pit road after an Xfinity Series race at Martinsville Speedway, a confrontation that left Mayer with a bloody cut above his left eye, according to The Athletic.
Gibbs led to start the second overtime of the Call 811 Before You Dig 250 race, but teammate Brandon Jones moved him out of the way, NBC Sports reported. While Jones won the race, Gibbs and Mayer bounced off each other during the final lap.
Mayer finished fifth and Gibbs took eighth place after hitting the wall, the network reported.
Then the fireworks began. Gibbs walked over to speak with Mayer on pit road, and the discussion disintegrated into a shoving match. Gibbs, who was still wearing his helmet, threw several punches at Mayer, with several connecting, The Athletic reported.
Officials quickly moved in to separate the drivers, the magazine reported.
“I was going to go up and talk to Sam,” Gibbs, grandson of car owner and former NFL coaching legend Joe Gibbs, told NBC Sports. “I was just frustrated. We led the whole thing and got drove in the fence, which is understandable – everybody is racing hard at the end of the day. Congrats to the 19 team and Brandon (Jones) for the win. We had a great car.
“I talked to Sam. I was frustrated. I was like, ‘What are you doing?’ when we got drove in the fence. We were kind of shoved a little bit and I turned away,” Gibbs added. “When I got grabbed and kind of pulled, that just led up to that moment. I think it just built up, built up, built up and I snapped and that’s just part of it. Hopefully, I learn from it.”
Mayer said the post-race emotions were running hot.
“That restart, (Jones) pushed us both up the race track. So at that point, the race win was out of my hands. So I had the $100,000 (Dash 4 Cash bonus) in my sights, and I was gonna do what I had to do to try to get back, and yeah, I put the bumper to him,” Mayer said. “That was like, in my opinion, we talked in the trailer and it was just a clean bump-and-run, and (second-place finisher Landon Cassill) kind of stuck it in there, kind of got us both crossed up, and that’s … where it kind of went to crap.
“But like I just talked to (Gibbs), he came back over, he was upset and just decided to throw a couple punches, but it’s fine by me. We talked about it. We’ll be good going forward, especially at Talladega (the next series race on April 23). 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 try to get a win next week or next time.”
After Mayer was treated for his injuries, the two drivers met with NASCAR officials inside the series hauler, The Athletic reported.
NASCAR Xfinity Series managing director Wayne Auton would not reveal what was discussed but he said the drivers shook hands without any prompting when the meeting ended.
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