LEBANON, Tenn. – With just under 40 laps to go during Saturday’s Tennessee Lottery 250 at Nashville Superspeedway, an apparent contact between the No. 1 JR Motorsports Chevrolet of Sam Mayer and the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Ty Gibbs sent the latter on the side.
Gibbs was able to – impressively – save his machine without fully spinning, but there is history here.
Cue the emojis.
The pair of ultra-talented teenagers driving for organizations competing with ultra-famous team owners battled it out on pit road not even three months ago at Martinsville Speedway, resulting in scrapes on Mayer’s face and a stern conversation in the NASCAR carrier not long after.
MORE: Gibbs and Mayer battle after Martinsville | Stacking pennies breaks down the fight | Alternate angle
With ambient temperatures hovering around 100 degrees at the Tennessee track, it may have been too hot to heat things up any further. There were no such fireworks between Gibbs and Mayer on Saturday, despite the fourth and fifth-place finishers, respectively, parking their cars together on pit road after the race.
In fact, there was a bit of a deal.
“This last race was quite painful. Obviously contact with 54, complete accident, I will say,” Mayer said. “It was just a matter of aerodynamics and packing the air under his wing, dropping it and unfortunately tucking it into his front left. Not intentional. I feel bad because I wasted a better race for him. I ruined a better race for me too.
“I hope (he also sees it that way). He has gained a lot of knowledge over the past year and a half running Xfinity, as have I. Running the 54, obviously, our story. I hate that we call it our story because I really want to drive race cars no matter who’s out there. I’ve been doing this move literally all day and I’ve never packed the air this hard. So it was really a complete accident.
Gibbs wasn’t thrilled with the contact, but seemed to completely understand the circumstances and echoed Mayer’s view of what happened almost to a T. It probably also didn’t hurt that he ended up finishing one place ahead of his counterpart, and neither. they probably had a thing for eventual race winner Justin Allgaier, who dominated the afternoon. Later in the race, Mayer allowed Gibbs to pass him with plenty of space, which did not go unnoticed.
MORE: Full Xfinity Race Results
“I got hit there and taken out, but that’s part of it,” Gibbs said. “…I did the same thing to 39 (of Ryan Sieg) and apologized to him, so that’s just part of that.” It’s just racing in general. Just packed air and made me too loose. He was faster then. I feel like we were better than him in the long run, even with the damage to the front left. We were probably going to come back around him, but that’s only part of it. It’s just racing. I made my mistakes, I just have to learn from them.
“I feel like it shows something (when he let me through), but again, that’s part of it. The only thing I’ve learned this year is that I have to mature We’re both the same age and we’re going to have to learn from that, especially in front of millions of people, it’s tough, but it’s the career we’ve chosen.
As with any incident on the track, this one will be added to both of their memory banks, even if it turns out to be a small glitch in the potential decades of racing one against the other. other than the two hopefuls have in front of them. Retaliation is unlikely for this one, but certainly not off the table.
Apologies go a long way.
“Hopefully he can move on,” Mayer said. “I’m going to apologize, but unfortunately it’s just one of those deals. I don’t know (if he’s going to fight back). We’ve been yelled at before so I don’t think so, but he could and he’ll call it an accident. And it might be. I don’t know. Unfortunately, racing is one of those weird things in that sense. Everyone has to bite the bullet somehow. other. Obviously I don’t want to and I want to race flawlessly. 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 overrated the movement and how it works.
The Xfinity Series races next Saturday at Road America with the Henry 180 (2:30 p.m. ET, USA Network, MRN, Sirius XM NASCAR Radio).