LEBANON, Tenn. – With just under 40 laps to go in Saturday’s Tennessee Lottery 250 at Nashville Superspeedway, apparent contact between Sam Mayer’s No. 1 JR Motorsports Chevrolet and Ty Gibbs’ No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota sent the latter sideways.
Gibbs was able to – impressively – save his machine without fully spinning, but there is history here.
Cue the emojis.
The pair of very talented teenagers driving for competing organizations with very famous team owners collided on the pit lane at Martinsville Speedway less than three months ago, resulting in some scratches on Mayer’s face and a stern conversation in the NASCAR dumper. long after.
LAKE: Gibbs, Mayer wrestling after Martinsville † Stacking pennies breaks up fight † Alternative angle
With ambient temperatures hovering around 100 degrees on the Tennessee track, it may have been too hot to heat things up further. There was no such fireworks on Saturday between Gibbs and Mayer, despite fourth and fifth place respectively parking their cars together in the pit lane after the race.
There was actually a bit of agreement.
“That last run was quite painful. Contact with the 54, of course, complete accident, I’ll say,” Mayer said. “It was just a matter of aerodynamics and grab the air under his spoiler, get it free and then unfortunately get into him in the front left. Not intentionally. I feel bad for ruining a better run for him. I have a better run too ruined for myself.”
‘I hope (he sees it that way too). He has gained a lot of knowledge about running Xfinity over the past year and a half, just like me. Racing the 54, of course, our history. I hate that we call it our history because I just want to drive race cars, whoever is there. I literally did that move all day and never wrapped up so hard. So it was really a complete accident.”
Gibbs wasn’t happy with the contact, but seemed to fully understand the circumstances and echoed Mayer’s take on what almost happened to a T. It probably didn’t hurt either that he ended up finishing a spot ahead of his counterpart, and neither of them probably had it all for eventual race winner Justin Allgaier, who dominated the afternoon. Later in the flight, Mayer allowed Gibbs to pass him with a lot space that did not go unnoticed.
LAKE: Results of the full Xfinity race
“I got hit there and knocked out, but that’s part of it,” Gibbs said. …I did the same with the 39 (from Ryan Sieg) and I apologized to him, so it’s just part of it. It’s just racing in general. I just packed air and loosened up too much. He was faster at that time. I feel like we were better than him in the long run, even with the damage on the left side. We’d probably get around him again, but that’s just part of it. It’s just racing. I made my mistakes, I just need to learn from them.
“I feel like it shows something (if he lets me through), but again, it’s just part of it. All I’ve learned this year is that I need to grow up fast. We’re both the same age and will just have to learn from it, especially for millions of people, it’s hard, but it’s the career we chose.”
As with any incident on the track, this one will be added to both memory banks, even if it turns out to be a minor flaw in the potential decades of racing each other ahead of the two prospects. Retaliation is unlikely for this one, but certainly not off the table.
Apologies go a long way.
“I hope he can continue,” Mayer said. “I’ll apologize, but unfortunately it’s just one of those deals. I don’t know (if he will take revenge). We’ve been yelled at already, so I don’t think so, but he could and he’ll call it an accident. And it could. I don’t know. Unfortunately, racing in that sense is one of those weird things. Everyone has to tie the knot in one way or another. Obviously I don’t want that and I want to race clean. I never want to be known as the dirty, aggressive driver, but I just made a mistake. It wasn’t even really a mistake, I just overestimated the move and how it works.”
The Xfinity Series will race this Saturday at Road America with the Henry 180 (2:30 p.m. ET, USA Network, MRN, Sirius XM NASCAR Radio).