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Joe Gibbs’ Xfinity Star Apologises to Dale Jr’s JR Motorsports, Claims No Foul Play Behind the Sam Mayer Jeopardization

Published 03/30/2024, 10:03 PM EDT

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It was hard to figure out that Taylor Gray was making his Xfinity debut for Joe Gibbs Racing at Richmond Raceway. The 19-year-old exhibited the expertise of a seasoned professional, finishing in an impressive P3 behind his JGR teammates, Chandler Smith and Aric Almirola. In December, he was unveiled as one of JGR’s rotational drivers, set to take the wheel of the No. 19 car in 2024.

However, during the transition to the final stage, Gray crossed paths with Dale Jr’s JRM star Sam Mayer on pit road. Unfortunately, this collision led to a flat tire for Mayer, pushing him several laps behind after making a pit stop for left-side tires.

Taylor Gray did not wish to spoil JRM Driver’s day

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Taylor Gray candidly shared his emotions during a post-race interview with FOX Sports following his Xfinity debut. He addressed the incident involving Sam Mayer, emphasizing that it was a clearly unintentional collision. Gray also extended a sincere apology to the JRM driver for spoiling his day. Other than that, he realizes how tough it is to race in the Xfinity or Cup Series, in comparison to the Truck Series.

He said, “I made and it just shows you, you know the difference right? You go from truck racing and you know, your pit roads not as crowded. You’re not racing people as tight off that road and, and then you go you leave the road or you come to the Xfinity years or Cup Series even worse. And you know, you got your racing people on the road so much tighter and things like that. So I need to clean up that on my end. I again apologize to the one group in JRM. I obviously that was the last thing I intended was to tear up the race car and ruin their day. So again, I apologize to them.

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He congratulated teammate Smith, who won the race, and expressed gratitude to his team for the brand-new Toyota GR Supra race car. “It was awesome, I mean, I can’t thank all my Joe Gibbs Racing guys enough. Brought me such a fast Toyota GR Supra. Just made too many mistakes to be able to capitalize on such a fast race car. Congrats to Chandler for winning the race. It’s a really good day for Joe Gibbs,” continued Gray.

An Xfinity star in the making?

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Taylor Gray has made a significant impression after a strong start to his Truck campaign with Tricon Garage. His three top-five finishes in five races showcase his talent. Furthermore, Gray arrived at Richmond with prior experience in two national series races in a Toyota Tundra. Despite starting 27th, he skillfully worked his way into the top 10 by lap 76 of the 250-lap race.

What’s more praiseworthy is that he maintained that position throughout the day. This remarkable performance stands as the best Xfinity debut since Ty Gibbs’s victory at the Daytona Road Course in 2021.

Now, equipped with this invaluable learning experience, Taylor Gray is set to participate in nine more races for Joe Gibbs Racing. The next challenge awaits at another short track, Martinsville. Let us see if Gray can explore his Toyota and use it to its true potential in the upcoming races.

Read More: NASCAR Inability to Control Truck Series Drivers Could Have Cost Taylor Gray His Life After Shameful Daytona Carnage

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Written by:

Mamata Mukherjee

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Mamata Mukherjee is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. Combining her love for writing and motorsports she has created some interesting and in-depth stories on drivers like Kyle Busch and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Joining ES with 3 years of experience in the field of writing, Mamata feels right at home in her role as a NASCAR Journalist.
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Edited by:

Shivali Nathta