Fists flew on pit row during NASCAR’s Xfinity Series race at Martinsville. Rivals Sam Mayer and Ty Gibbs, the grandson of Super Bowl winning coach and NASCAR team owner Joe Gibbs, were the combatants in the altercation after Friday night’s race.
Gibbs led for a majority of the race but lost the lead to Brandon Jones on the final turn. Attempting to retake the lead and drive around Jones, he ran into Mayer, who hit Gibbs’ car from behind. The 18-year-old Mayer drove Gibbs into the wall and moved up a few positions to cross the finish line, while Gibbs fell to eighth despite leading for most of the race.
The 19-year-old Gibbs was visibly upset after the checkered flag and everything escalated after both parked on pit row. Gibbs quickly got into Mayer’s face and they shouted at each other before shoves and eventually swings. Gibbs threw punches and grabbed Mayer’s head, who was helmetless. Gibbs still had his racing helmet on as Mayer took Gibbs to the ground, creating a large pile of both driver’s pit crews 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.”