On older tires, Brandon Jones stole a NASCAR Xfinity Series win from the scion of the owner of his race team on Saturday night in the Call 811 Before You Dig 250 Powered by Call811.com at Martinsville Speedway.
Jones dived to the inside of Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Ty Gibbs as race went to a second overtime. Jones cleared Gibbs on the second circuit (Lap 261) and got to the finish line .677 seconds ahead of Landon Cassill, as Sam Mayer bumped Gibbs’s Toyota and squeezed it into the outside wall off the final corner.
While Mayer and Gibbs tangled, AJ Allmendinger took third and the $100,000 Xfinity Dash 4 Cash bonus that goes to the highest finisher among four eligible drivers, a group that also included Mayer and Gibbs.
To download images from the Call Before You Dig 250 Powered by Call811.com, click here.
Gibbs led 198 of the 261 laps in a race that was scheduled for 250. Jones led 28. But Gibbs was too busy fighting Mayer on pit road after the race to worry about the lap count.
While Jones was performing a celebratory burnout on the frontstretch, Gibbs strode to Mayer’s car, and heated words soon led to punches—Mayer with helmet off, Gibbs with helmet still on.
“I tried to talk to him, and he got in my face, and that’s when I had to start fighting,” Gibbs said.
“The only thing I’m mad about is that he (Mayer) wasn’t going to get by the 16 (Allmendinger), and I got hit in the left rear. It’s just frustrating, but I was on the other side of it last week (moving John Hunter Nemechek for a win at Richmond), so that’s just part of it.”
The dust-up on pit road did nothing to dampen the elation of Jones, who picked up his first Xfinity Series win since 2020 and the fifth of his career.
“It’s fun to beat him (Gibbs),” Jones said. “He’s hot right now.”
If Gibbs was hot, in another figurative sense, Mayer was unapologetic after the incident, which left him with a swollen left eye.
“With a hundred grand on the line, I put the bumper to him—that’s what short-track racing’s all about,” Mayer told FOX Sports’ Bob Pockrass. “He got upset… he threw a couple of punches that were weak… But I just put the bumper to him for a hundred grand, and he got upset, but he’s been doing that to everyone else every week so far.”
Long before the chaotic ending, the race got off to a rocky start. Rain began falling right after the command was given to start engines and the green flag was delayed until a small storm cell left the area.
And before the field could complete a lap, the engine in Brennan Poole’s No. 47 Chevrolet exploded, sending a plume of smoke into the cool night air and dropping a trail of oil on the track.
The smoke was an appropriate metaphor. For the rest of Stage 1, Gibbs smoked the rest of the field, leading 59 of the 60 laps.
By pitting early under caution on Lap 42, Noah Gragson inherited the lead when Gibbs brought his No. 54 Toyota to pit road at the Stage 1 conclusion, but it didn’t take Gibbs long to prevail on new tires. (Gragson’s winning chances would evaporate in a wild multicar wreck that stopped the first attempt at overtime almost before it started.)
On Lap 88, the 19-year-old Gibbs passed Gragson for the top spot and began to pull away until Stefan Parsons’ spin in Turn 2 on Lap 101 caused the fifth caution.
Undeterred, Gibbs maintained his advantage, but the restart on Lap 108 gave Jones the opportunity to slip past Gragson for second. Gibbs elected to pit under caution on Lap 117 after contact from Anthony Alfredo’s Chevrolet turned the Toyota of Derek Griffith in Turn 1, causing the sixth caution.
That handed the stage win to Jones, who surrendered the lead to Parsons—with Gibbs running fourth—by pitting during the stage break, along with other drivers who had stayed out to collect stage points.
It took Gibbs fewer than two circuits to regain the lead after a restart on Lap 129. But at that point, barely past halfway, there were still nine cautions, two overtimes and a fistfight to go.
2022 NASCAR Season
As part of its 75th Anniversary season, Martinsville Speedway concludes its first-ever consecutive three race weekend of night races with all three premier series with the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 400 NASCAR Cup Series race on Saturday, April 9 at 7:30 p.m.
In the fall, Martinsville will host the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season finale on Thursday, Oct. 27 and penultimate races of the Xfinity Series Playoffs in the Dead On Tools 250 on Saturday, Oct. 29 at 3:00 p.m. and the Cup Series Playoffs in the Xfinity 500 on Sunday, Oct. 30 at 2:00 p.m. In short track battles that can only happen at Martinsville, the fall races will crown the Whelen Modified Tour champion and set the field for the Xfinity and Cup Series championships the following week at Phoenix Raceway.
The ValleyStar Credit Union 300, the nation’s biggest, richest and most prestigious NASCAR Late Model Stock Car race, will return for an evening of intense competition on Saturday, Sept. 24.
NASCAR tickets are available for purchase today via phone at 877-RACE-TIX or online at martinsvillespeedway.com.
811 is the national call-before-you-dig phone number implemented in 2007. By law in all 50 states, anyone who plans to dig must call 811 or go to their state 811 centers’ website before digging. This free service ensures underground facility owners are notified of intent to dig and can mark those utilities using paint or flags.
Shallow digging is still digging: Too many people believe they are not digging deep enough to warrant having lines marked, but utility lines can be at any depth. Learn more about 811 in your state by visiting Call811.com
About Martinsville Speedway
Founded by H. Clay Earles in 1947, Martinsville Speedway is the only NASCAR track to host NASCAR Cup Series races every year since its inception in 1949. At .526 miles in length, the track annually hosts two NASCAR race weekends featuring the NASCAR Cup Series, along with NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races in the fall. Martinsville Speedway also annually hosts the ValleyStar Credit Union 300, the nation’s biggest, richest and most prestigious NASCAR Late Model Stock Car race. For more information about Martinsville Speedway, visit martinsvillespeedway.com.
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for the No. 1 form of motorsports in the United States and owner of 16 of the nation’s major motorsports entertainment facilities. NASCAR consists of three national series (NASCAR Cup Series™, NASCAR Xfinity Series™, and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series™), four regional series (ARCA Menards Series, ARCA Menards Series East & West and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour), one local grassroots series (NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series) and three international series (NASCAR Pinty’s Series, NASCAR Peak Mexico Series, NASCAR Whelen Euro Series). The International Motor Sports Association™ (IMSA®) governs the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship™, the premier U.S. sports car series. NASCAR also owns Motor Racing Network, Racing Electronics, and ONE DAYTONA. Based in Daytona Beach, Florida, with offices in eight cities across North America, NASCAR sanctions more than 1,200 races in more than 30 U.S. states, Canada, Mexico and Europe. For more information visit www.NASCAR.com and www.IMSA.com, and follow NASCAR on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat (‘NASCAR’).