NASCAR: Big One Takes Out Half the Field in Xfinity Series Race at Martinsville

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

With rain and wind hammering Martinsville, this weekend’s NASCAR event got off to a rocky start. After canceling the Truck Series qualifying and practice due to inclement weather and drying the track for the Xfinity Series pre-race events on Thursday, it looked like rain again this morning. While inconvenient, the wet track was just the start of the chaos. A few hours later, the NASCAR Xfinity Series race in the Martinsville Speedway saw a true Big One, with twenty cars crashing on Turn 1 following a restart.

After nearly breaking a Martinsville Speedway record with 14 cautions (the record is 18, set in 1984), the Xfinity Series drivers prepared to enter the final stretch of the Call 811 Before You Dig 250. But after such a chaotic race, why would the last few laps be anything but full-blown mayhem?

Rather than coming in for a smooth finish, the race went into overtime and a massive wreck ensued. At the start of Lap 251, the red flag dropped immediately following the green when Noah Gragson spun into the outside wall after being bumped by Sam Mayer. As the two drivers were in the front of the field, the majority of the rest of the drivers were caught in the crash as well, suffering varying degrees of damage to their cars.

As the drivers waited for cleanup, Dale Jr, who chose Martinsville for his sole race of the year, said into his headset, “I was enjoying that long green run.”

More Chaos Following NASCAR Xfinity Series Crash in Martinsville

Following the 20 minutes of mayhem, the red flag lifted and the drivers sped toward the checkered flag. After 258 laps, Brandon Jones emerged the winner of the Call 811 Before You Dig 250. Rather than focusing on Jones’ victory, however, fans’ attention fell elsewhere.

Partially because of the restart, Ty Gibbs moved from lead position to an 8th place finish. On pit road after the race, Ty Gibbs approached Sam Mayer and things devolved into chaos once again. The two Xfinity Series drivers brawled next to the Martinsville Speedway, tempers running high after the devastating crash.

Ty Gibbs said of the fight, “I tried to talk to him. Then he got all in my face, so you know, at that point, we gotta start fighting. We got put in a bad position there. The only thing I’m mad about is 1, he wasn’t gonna get past the 16 there and I just got hit in the left rear. But it’s just frustrating. I could’ve driven it to the end, but that’s just part of it.”

On a lighter note, Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished the race in a very respectable 11th place!