NASCAR John Hunter Nemechek left pit road fuming after teammate Ty Gibbs bumped him for a Xfinity Series win at Richmond Raceway yesterday. Nemechek, racing in select Xfinity Series contests this season for Joe Gibbs Racing, climbed the ladder towards the front of the pack during the closing circuits of Saturday’s ToyotaCare 250. He took the lead with five laps remaining, but Gibbs fought back, finishing with a bumper shot when the white flag came out.
Gibbs made his move on Turn 3 and 4, diving low and making contact with the left side of Nemechek’s No. 18 Toyota. The bump sent Nemechek up the race track, though he held on for a second-place finish.
“He was able to get a run beating my back bumper off, got inside of me,” Nemechek told NASCAR.com. “Thought we would be able to run side-by-side there, him running low and me running high in (Turns) 3 and 4. It didn’t play out that way. He just didn’t even try to make the corner. It is what it is.”
Gibbs even admitted in his post-race presser that he “deserved one back” from teammate John Hunter Nemechek.
“We’re racing for wins and they’re hard to come by,” Gibbs said. “I had to take it. Just got in there deep and had to bump him out of the way going up the track. We’re short-track racing.”
John Hunter Nemechek vowed to settle the score one day
Nemechek seemed unfazed by the pseudo-apology.
“It doesn’t mean anything,” Nemechek said. “We didn’t take home the hardware today.
“I guess I should know that when the last lap is out, teammate rules are off or whatever,” he added. “But, I thought it would have been awesome to be able to duel it out side-by-side coming to the checkered flag. Whether it was him or me winning, rubbing doors to the start-finish line is awesome, but don’t just completely miss a corner.”
The battle raged between the two teammates all day. Nemechek led a race-high 135 laps, while Gibbs held the top spot for 114 laps; leaving only one single lap of the 250 total that someone other than Nemechek or Gibbs led. Nemechek is also competing for a championship in his full-time NASCAR Camping Truck Series effort with Toyota-backed Kyle Busch Motorsports. He finished his presser by vowing to remember the move by Gibbs.
“I’m not going to sit here and say it’s fair or not fair,” Nemechek said with a smile. “Him and I will settle it one day. I don‘t want to say too much and get myself in trouble. Just got drove through. He didn‘t even try and make the corner there. Just racers never forget, that’s all.”