It seems like NASCAR is trying to take a page out of hockey’s book, as fights have suddenly become a regular part of their race weekends.
The latest NASCAR brawl comes from last night’s XFinity race at Martinsville Speedway, where Sam Mayer and Ty Gibbs were spotted throwing punches in pit row following the race.
Following a little run-in between the two late in the race (which Mayer finished 5th and Gibbs finished 8th in), the two drivers parked their cars in pit lane, exchanged some words, and eventually threw down before being broken apart.
Gibbs apparently didn’t like something that Mayer said to him, and that’s about when he dropped a 1-2 combo on his competitor.
Gibbs did acknowledge that he let his emotions get the best of him and “snapped.” Here’s how he explained it to NBC Sports’ Dustin Long (via NASCAR.com):
“What led up to that moment was, I talked to Sam, I was frustrated,” Gibbs told NBC Sports‘ Dustin Long, adding it wasn’t his intention to fight when he approached Mayer. “I was like, ‘What are you doing when we got drove into the fence?’ And you know, we kind of shoved a little bit and I turned away. And when I got grabbed and kind of pulled, that just led up to that moment. I think just build-up, build-up, build-up and I snapped, and that’s just part of it. You know, hopefully I’ll learn from it. I made some other mistakes. But you know, just once I got off the bottom (lane), it was just game over for me when Brandon got inside of me.”
As for Mayer, he seemed to be awfully understanding of it all, even after taking a sucker punch from a guy wearing a helmet:
“Heat of the moment type stuff,” Mayer said. “I mean, I think it’s more I was just trying to get his attention, and he took it the wrong way, and it just … he just snapped. I mean, that’s what I say just happened. Nothing anything horrible, but it’s just part of the sport.”
In the end, both racers just chalked it up to “boys playing hard,” as Mayer claims the two were able to sort out their differences and move on following their meeting with the NASCAR brass in the XFinity Series Hauler.
“I just talked to him, 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,” Mayer said. “We’ll be good going forward, especially at Talladega. 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.”
This relationship may be mended, but I doubt this will be the last brewhaha we see this NASCAR season.
Here’s another look at the fight, as well as everything that led up to it: