RIDGEWAY, Va. – Ty Gibbs wrecked teammate Brandon Jones out of the lead in the third overtime of the Xfinity Series in a controversial victory that had the Martinsville Speedway crowd booing Gibbs. When the 20-year-old grandson of team owner Joe Gibbs went to victory lane, fans chanted “thank you, Grandpa,” to spoil the celebration. The victory moved Gibbs into next week’s Xfinity Series championship finale, where he will race against three Chevrolet drivers from JR Motorsports. Had Gibbs stayed in second behind Jones, the victory for Jones would have put two Toyotas from JGR in the championship finale.
“It was definitely not a clean move, for sure,” Gibbs said. “I definitely didn’t want to wreck him, but I definitely wanted to move him out of the groove so I could go win. I felt like we lost the spring race getting moved by him.
“He’s my teammate, but definitely want to get the win here. It’s important to get the win. And now we’re going to the championships. It’s cool. Hopefully, I don’t get hit by any cans or anything right here.
“We got moved out of the way earlier this year so, it’s part of it.”
Jones won the pole and led 98 laps to Gibbs 102, but finished 23rd, the last driver on the lead lap.
“I know Ty enough to where I know he doesn’t care about what he did,” said Jones, who will move to JR Motorsports next season. “He’s pretty much, well—he wasn’t ‘pretty much’—he was locked into the next round. So really, what did that do?
“I don’t really understand the move. I understand trying to get aggressive—you want to win the race. But to just destroy the race car, I don’t see it. I don’t get any satisfaction from it. Maybe he does. Maybe he likes to win that way? But I never have and never felt strong about racing that way. So, we’ll just take it and go for it.”
Jones’ misfortune elevated veteran Justin Allgaier, his soon-to-be-teammate at JR Motorsports into the final Championship 4 berth. Jones needed a victory to claim the spot, but Allgaier was in a position to advance on points, which he did by 12 points over Regular Season Champion AJ Allmendinger.
Allgaier finished fifth and Allmendinger 16th after contact between their cars cut Allmendinger’s left rear tire as the drivers played bumper tag and swapped positions during the closing stages of the race. Allgaier was happy to advance but less than thrilled with the way it happened.