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Late Vegas vroom elevates Ty Gibbs to first Xfinity Series win of 2022
LAS VEGAS – Ty Gibbs pulled away from the field in a restart with six laps to go and held off hometown favorite Noah Gragson to earn his first NASCAR Xfinity Series win of the season at Alsco Uniforms Saturday’s 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
It was the first win of the year for Gibbs, 19, grandson of NASCAR Hall of Fame team owner and three-time Super Bowl champion head coach Joe Gibbs. He’s had an eventful day since the green flag dropped. His #54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota got just the boost it needed from JR Motorsports’ Justin Allgaier on that final restart, then pulled away from team-mate Gragson to take the lead for the first time in the day and ultimately earn his fifth career victory. .
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This race had a bit of everything – from snowflakes in the air to dust on the track. There were 17 lead changes, 11 warning flags and a 42-minute red flag for light snow and rain.
For the first half of the race, there were never more than 15 laps of green flag laps between the warning flags. There were seven yellow flags in Stage 2, which ended at Lap 90.
Gibbs’ day started with a meeting with veteran Ryan Sieg on lap 4 of the 200 lap race. The pair made enough contact during the race to send Sieg’s No. 39 Ford RSS Racing into the outside wall. The team was still making repairs when the red flag came out for rain and reports of light snow.
As the drivers stood in front of their cars, Sieg headed onto pit road to have what appeared to be a heated discussion with Gibbs about the incident. And Sieg was obviously still frustrated after the conversation.
“It’s difficult, but that’s the way it is,” Sieg told reporters as he still waited by his car. “He’s definitely going to have to learn his lesson, you know what I mean.”
Gibbs remained adamant that he didn’t do anything on purpose.
“I told him if my goal was to destroy you and end your day, you wouldn’t have gone one more lap,” Gibbs said, defiantly.
MORE: Early Frictions for Gibbs, Sieg
A few minutes later, he softened his tone and apologized for ruining Sieg’s day and the impact it had on Sieg’s small family team. The race started again, and only a few laps later, Sieg pulled up alongside Gibbs and looked like he was trying to destroy Gibbs, but he missed and put himself in the lead- tailed. The rotation that followed Sieg brought together the cars of Sheldon Creed and Brett Moffitt. Sieg returned to the garage and retired after completing just 25 laps, finishing 36th in the 38-car field.
Again, after the race, Gibbs apologized to Sieg on live television for starting the whole episode.
“I want to apologize to 39 (Sieg) for the contact I made, it wasn’t my best decision and I’m sorry for the whole group, Ryan’s family, they work so hard.
“I also want to thank Justin Allgaier for my push,” added Gibbs. “I also had fun racing with the JR (Motorsports) cars, so hopefully we can continue and win more races.
“Let’s go! he added with a shout.
It was certainly a bitter pill for Gragson to swallow. He won Stages 1 and 2 of the race and was in the lead when the final warning came out for a multi-car wreck in Turn 4. He lined up with Kaulig Racing’s Daniel Hemric behind him. His teammate Allgaier was behind Gibbs, and Gibbs was able to pull away just enough to take a nearly half-second lead before wreckage – after the white flag – froze the field.
Gragson finished second, followed by Hemric and JR Motorsports drivers Josh Berry and Allgaier. Landon Cassill, rookie Sheldon Creed, Brett Moffitt, poleman AJ Allmendinger and Brandon Jones complete the top 10.
“I was just beaten at our own game there. The restarts were short,” Gragson said, adding, “You just had to be better. Congratulations to them and we’ll keep working hard. Thanks to this team led by Luke Lambert and we will come back stronger next week.
“Obviously I wanted to be in Victory Lane, but it could be a lot worse,” he said.
Although Gragson was disappointed to miss out on the win, it marks his second runner-up finish of 2022. He has a third-place finish and two second-place finishes and holds the Xfinity Series championship lead with 17 points over Gibbs.
The next race in the Xfinity Series is the United Rentals 200, scheduled for next Saturday (4:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM) at Phoenix Raceway.
Remarks: Sam Mayer led four times for 25 laps in a bid to clinch his first top five of the year. A crash with 19 laps to go knocked him out and he finished 25th, two laps later. … The Chevrolet drivers finished second to ninth behind Gibbs’ winning Toyota. …Joe Graf Jr., who unofficially finished 29th, was disqualified during post-race inspection for fixing only 17 of 20 lug nuts, in violation of Rule 10.5.2.5.D NASCAR. Graf is credited with a last place.
MORE: No. 07 disqualified after inspection
Input: Staff Reports