NASCAR: Ty Gibbs and John Hunter Nemechek Clear the Air After Clash in Richmond

by TK Sanders
(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Ty Gibbs and John Hunter Nemechek said they managed to follow up with each other following a public clash at Richmond last week. Gibbs secured the Xfinity Series win on Saturday after some aggressive, full-contact final lap racing; leaving Nemechek fuming at his antics.

Gibbs, 19, has already won three races in his first full season of NASCAR Xfinity Series competition. Thursday’s time trial win for Friday night’s Xfinity Series was his third consecutive pole, as well. Quite simply, his rise has been meteoric – seven total wins in just 25 Xfinity starts – and all that success typically accompanies a reputation for either hard-driving or heartless strategies.

Both Gibbs and Nemechek made the trip to Martinsville this weekend, though for different races: truck series for the latter. Coach Joe Gibbs said last weekend that he had encouraged his grandson, Ty, to address the conflict with John Hunter, as to avoid any lingering bitterness amongst themselves. Thursday at Martinsville, the younger Gibbs said during post-qualifying that the two spoke, but not for long.

“Well, Coach doesn’t come to our Xfinity debriefs, and John Hunter didn’t show up,” Gibbs said after taking the Xfinity pole. “So I got to call John Hunter, but he never showed up to the drivers’ meeting, which I was surprised about. But you know, it is what it is.”

Nemechek echoed the statement ahead of Thursday’s Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 200 truck race.

“I had a phone call with [Ty], but I was not in the team debrief when we had it on Tuesday. I guess it was my mistake for saying it was Monday,” Nemechek said. “That’s normally when our Truck debrief is, so just figured it was Monday. But I had Trucks then, trying to get ready for here, so I wasn’t able to be there for the team debrief. But him and I have had a call and exchanged some words and different things of that sort, so that’s pretty much it.”

As for any resolution between Gibbs and Nemechek, well, it’s hard to tell

“I mean, he pretty much told me the same thing that he said in his post-race interview and all that stuff,” Nemechek said. “We’ll just see where it goes. It’s hard racing, I guess.”

Reporters asked Gibbs later in the day if he felt any extra pressure knowing that other racers may want to knock him down a peg.

“Not really. You know, we’re all out here doing the same thing. I mean, last year, I got wrecked from the lead, so it’s not like it’s different, you know. So I’m gonna do the best I can,” Gibbs said.

Nemechek also elaborated on his own thoughts, now with some time and perspective since last weekend’s race.

“I mean, I’m mad I didn’t win the race, right?” Nemechek said. “And I guess you can look at it from different ways, right. And you can think of it from you must win no matter what, but at the same time as a teammate, you I guess expect a little more respect than that. But it is what it is. We just move on and keep racing.”