MARTINSVILLE, VA – Brandon Jones beat Ty Gibbs in the final round of a two-way sprint to the finish and won at Martinsville Speedway Friday night to claim his fifth career win, and one launched a pit-road brawl when he was finished.
In the recent restart, which followed a number of warnings, Gibbs chose to start from the inner lane and had to pass Jones, his teammate Joe Gibbs Racing, also from the inside while he was in second. Jones got inside him a few times, then finally took first place while Gibbs got caught up in the chaos.
“What a day,” Jones said after getting out of his car. “I can’t say we could have played better… I had older tires than all of these guys at the end.”
When it was over, Gibbs and longtime rival Sam Mayer, both racing for a $100,000 Dash4Cash bonus, came in the pit way. Gibbs was wearing his helmet, while Mayer was not, and when Mayer pushed him, Gibbs threw a punch and they banded together in a brawl while the others tried to break it up.
“I tried to talk to him and it was all in my face and at that point we had to start a fight,” Gibbs said. “It put us in a bad situation there. The only thing I’m crazy about is [Mayer] I didn’t have anything. The past will not pass [third-place finisher A.J. Allmendinger] And I just got hit in my left ass.”
But, Gibbs admitted, a week ago at Richmond Raceway, he had to apologize to teammate John Hunter Nemeczyk for pushing him on the last lap to claim the win, his third best streak in seven races.
Instead of a fourth win Friday night, he finished eighth.
Before the wild finish, Gibbs had made it out unscathed each time the last several yellow flags out of the 16 yellow pennants were as cars rolled behind him. Then, much of the field crashed at the first attempt in an extra two-lap sprint to the finish when Mayer, who finished second, caused Noah Gragson, who is in third place, to spin, causing a massive buildup even before the field made it to the first turn. .
This was the last warning on the cold night and showed a red flag that lasted less than 20 minutes, eventually setting the stage for the drama.
Landon Castle came out of nowhere to take second place, the first of the four Chevrolets was behind the Toyota Jones with the Allmendinger taking third place—and taking a $100,000 bonus—followed by Austin Hill and Meyer.
Started by Dale Earnhardt Jr. , who started his career first on the 0.526 oval mile on his annual foray into the series, was in the back, never competing and was 11th.
It was also a tricky end for points leader Gregson, who ran out front all night but was relegated to 20 after being pushed away by Mayer.