WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. — Joe Gibbs Racing’s Ty Gibbs dominated Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Shriners Children’s 200 at the Glen, leading 71 of 86 laps. However, the race came down to the final restart, and Gibbs didn’t get a change to taste the spoils of victory.
Contact between Gibbs and Sam Mayer resulted in Gibbs spinning out in turn 1. Austin Hill also spun out after being hit from behind by Cole Custer. Hill would ultimately finish 14th, while Gibbs was 17th.
“I wanted to get [Gibbs] pinned down three-wide [in the middle] into turn 1,” Mayer stated during his post-race conference. “I knew that [Austin Hill] was on new tires, so he was going to get a good launch. I tried to get to the inside of [Gibbs] and push him up into [Hill]. I knew that if [Hill] got the lead, he was going to drive away from everyone.”
“It’s a tough deal. Overdrove the corner trying to get to the inside of [Gibbs], wheel-hopped and slid straight into him,” Mayer continued. “Obviously, as a racecar driver, I wouldn’t appreciate that. I don’t like doing that to people. It was a mistake and he’s obviously upset. I would be too.”
In the post-race media bullpen normally for drivers that finished in the top five, Gibbs was the special invitee. He struck a generally mature tone.
“I think he just wheel-hopped and wrecked us,” Gibbs said after the race. “That was a mistake on his part and it completely put [us] out.”
While Gibbs came off as simply disappointed here, he was a bit angrier on USA Network a little bit earlier.
“When you have to race out of desperation like that, wheel-hop and clean out the leader like that, you can call it a racing move, but it just sucks,” Gibbs told NBC Sports’ Dillon Welch. “We’ve kind of grown up racing around each other. He has more starts than I did and today was his second win. Congratulations on his win and I really wish I could have had my 13th.”
On MRN Radio, Gibbs ended his interview with this quip. Sounds like he really doesn’t want to discuss these events with Mayer at all.
The root cause of this incident is that Mayer believes that Gibbs nearly wrecked him on the previous restart. Here, Mayer tried to get to Gibbs’ inside and Gibbs nearly pinned him into the concrete wall.
“I knew that I would be able to stay at [Gibbs’] quarterpanel [on the restart] and he knew that too. That’s why he did what he did,” Mayer stated. “If I was able to stay there and side draft him down the backstretch, I would have beat him into the [Inner Loop] and probably had the lead there.”
“As a Cup driver, [Gibbs] is aware of that. So he fed me a little fender and [just about] wrecked me, putting us in a dangerous spot,” Mayer continued. “I was pretty upset about that. It’s just part of the really aggressive racing that we see nowadays.”
Mayer was ultimately able to get past Sheldon Creed coming to the white flag for the lead. He then held on to to take his second win of the year. Meanwhile, Gibbs will have to come back on Sunday and try to score a triumph of his own.
About the author
Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.
Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as the Super DIRTcar Series.
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