Ty Gibbs won Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series playoff race at Martinsville Speedway in the third overtime as the race for positions in the championship finals produced some fierce late-race activity.
Even among teammates.
Gibbs was running second to Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Brandon Jones as the third overtime unfolded. Gibbs punted Jones into the Turn 1 wall and out of the lead, prompting a caution and assuring Gibbs of the race victory.
A race win would have advanced Jones to the championship finale, giving two JGR teams a shot at the title. Instead, Jones failed to qualify for the Championship Four, and Justin Allgaier took the fourth spot.
MORE: Martinsville Xfinity results
MORE: Martinsville Xfinity driver points
MORE: Martinsville Xfinity reseeded standings
A string of caution flags slowed the race over the closing miles as drivers sought to move through the field for a shot at the title in next week’s race at Phoenix Raceway.
Noah Gragson and Josh Berry entered the race with spots solidified in the final four at Phoenix. Gibbs picked up enough stage points during the race to nail down his championship spot before race’s end. Gibbs’ race win gave him his 10th career victory but had no impact on his Championship Four status.
MORE: Long: Ty Gibbs creates a buzz in NASCAR
Jones and other drivers were critical of Gibbs’ tactic, and Berry suggested after the race that Jones might be a JR Motorsports teammate of sorts in the Phoenix finale. Berry, Gragson and Allgaier drive for JR Motorsports, and Jones is going to JRM next season.
Boos rained down on Gibbs from the grandstands as he celebrated the victory.
After a late-race crash that involved eight cars, Austin Hill and Myatt Snider scuffled near pit road post-race.
Battles on the track, battles off the track.
Myatt Snider and Austin Hill get into it post-race. pic.twitter.com/eMKTCbxcTT
— Xfinity Racing (@XfinityRacing) October 29, 2022
Jones won the pole and led the first 66 laps, including a win in the first stage. For much of the rest of the race, Jones and Gibbs, who won the second stage, raced around the front.
Stage 1 winner: Brandon Jones
Stage 2 winner: Ty Gibbs
Who had a good race: Brandon Jones led six times for 98 laps and on was point to advance to the Championship Four with a victory until he was dumped by eventual race winner Ty Gibbs, his teammate, in the third overtime. … Sheldon Creed drove through the mayhem of the closing laps to finish second. … Riley Herbst was third.
Who had a bad race: AJ Allmendinger finished 16th and failed to advance to the Phoenix Championship Four. … Austin Hill finished ninth and lost a shot at a better finish when he was involved in a multi-car crash late in the race. … Team owner Joe Gibbs won the race but will have some fence-mending to do.
Next: The Xfinity Series championship will be determined in the season finale Nov. 5 at Phoenix Raceway (6 p.m. ET, NBC).