Pole-starter Ty Gibbs exited Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series event early after a mid-race altercation at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Gibbs’ No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota sustained right-side damage on the 93rd of a scheduled 163 laps in Saturday’s Alsco Uniforms 250. Riley Herbst’s No. 98 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford washed up into Gibbs’ car from the low groove at the front of the pack, as both lanes began to push forward in a final-stage restart. Gibbs got the worst of the contact between the two black, Monster Energy-sponsored cars, scraping the outside retaining wall and slowing.
Gibbs drove to pit road, but his team indicated that the damage was too severe and instructed him to take the No. 54 Toyota to the garage. Gibbs — a four-time winner in 2022 who won at Atlanta earlier this season — was tagged with his second DNF of the year, finishing 35th in the 38-car field.
“We had a good car and the 98 (Herbst) just slid up and wasn’t clear and hooked us in the left-front and got me in the wall,” Gibbs said after a check at the infield care center. “Just hard racing and came out on the bad side of it. Luckily, happy to walk out of this place on my feet.”
Herbst avoided the wall and continued to a ninth-place finish — his third consecutive top-10 result. He said he intended to talk to Gibbs later in an effort to smooth any tension created by their on-track contact.
“Obviously, I never meant to wreck my good friend, Ty, and obviously Monster Energy teammate,” Herbst told NASCAR.com. “So that was a bummer because the restart before I helped him out quite a bit and pushed him to the lead, and then the caution came out and we re-stacked. The 18 (Ryan Truex) gave me a really good push. … and as soon as I heard clear, I turned my wheel hard to the right. And I think it was a matter of inches — less than inches. I just got into him and that’s on me. I’ll talk to him, give him a call and whatnot. I apologize. Obviously, words don’t mean anything to them at this point because they didn’t finish, but all in all, it sucked.”
In terms of how that conversation might go, Herbst said he hoped to minimize any carry-over from their Atlanta run-in.
“I hope so. I mean, I don’t know. I hope so,” Herbst said. “Like I said, I’ll just talk to him and gauge his temperature.”
Contributing: Sean Montgomery at Atlanta Motor Speedway