The final lap of the ToyotaCare 250 on April 2 featured a move by Ty Gibbs where he sent teammate John Hunter Nemechek up the track before taking the lead and winning. This contact sparked strong comments from the Camping World Truck Series regular, who said that he “wouldn’t call it racing.”
“I was fine with getting run into and getting my back bumper beat off and hit in the left rear, whatever, moved out of the way, packing air,” Nemechek told FOX Sports’ Bob Pockrass after the Xfinity Series race. “That’s racing. That’s short-track racing. But when you flat-out miss a corner and pretty much drive through someone, I wouldn’t call that racing.”
ALL the latest NASCAR news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on NASCAR newsletter here!
Nemechek clarified that this run-in likely wouldn’t linger and lead to team dysfunction. He told FOX Sports that they would get the situation handled on Monday, April 4.
As a driver who competes full-time in the Truck Series, Nemechek is ineligible for the playoffs. A second-place finish does nothing for him considering that he was simply striving to secure some wins for Joe Gibbs Racing. Nemechek started on the front row, led a race-high 135 laps, and came within less than one second of winning his third career Xfinity Series race.
Gibbs Explained His Last-Lap Move
While Nemechek voiced some frustration with the last-lap contact, the race-winner met with members of the media. He provided further information about the push and said that “there was no excuse” for him hitting his teammate. Though Gibbs also added that he was going to have to hit Nemechek to get past him.
“I mean, I was going to have to get into him anyway,” Gibbs told members of the media during his post-race presser. “He could get into center better, and I just couldn’t rotate. So I was going to have to hit him. If I could go back, I would have not drove [sic] in as hard, hit him as hard to knock him up way, way up the track.”
Gibbs also acknowledged potential repercussions during his post-race discussion with FOX Sports’ Jamie Little. He said that he “deserves one back” but added that he was racing for wins and that they are hard to come by.
The 2 Drivers Will Reunite in Future Races
The trip to Richmond Raceway was only Nemechek’s first Xfinity Series start of the year for Joe Gibbs Racing. He will have two more starts in 2022, which will likely lead to even more battles on the track with Gibbs.
Nemechek’s season will continue with a return to the No. 18 Toyota at Dover Motor Speedway on April 30 while ACME serves as his primary partner. He will wrap up his schedule at Texas Motor Speedway on September 24. ROMCO will serve as the primary for this final race.
The time between Richmond and Dover will provide ample time for Nemechek and Gibbs to work out any potential lingering issues. Though there will still be considerable attention on both drivers and how they will race against each other during the A-GAME 200.