In a NASCAR Xfinity Series event dominated by the return of Kyle Larson, Ty Gibbs capitalized in overtime with a final lap pass on Larson to win the 13th annual running of the Henry 180 at Road America on Saturday, July 2.
The 19-year-old Gibbs from Charlotte, North Carolina, led three times for five of 48 over-scheduled laps as he overtook Larson, who led a race-high 31, at the start of the final lap. Once he captured the lead, Gibbs then managed to fend off late repeated challenges from the reigning Cup Series champion through the 14-turn circuit before he pulled away up the final straightaway and to the finish line for his fourth checkered flag of the 2022 Xfinity season.
With on-track qualifying that determined the starting lineup occurring on Friday, Kyle Larson, who made his return to the Xfinity Series following a three-year absence, started on pole position after claiming the top starting spot with a pole-winning lap at 108.495 mph in 134.318 seconds. Joining him on the front row was Ty Gibbs, who clocked in a qualifying lap at 107.922 mph in 135.031 seconds.
Prior to the event, names like Bayley Currey, Justin Allgaier, Josh Berry, Landon Cassill, AJ Allmendinger, John Hunter Nemechek, Jeb Burton, Myatt Snider and Patrick Gallagher dropped to the rear of the field due to unapproved adjustments to their respective cars. Jesse Iwuji also dropped to the rear of the field due to a driver change after he replaced Kyle Weatherman.
When the green flag waved and the race started, Larson rocketed away from the field as he led through the first turn while Gibbs retained second ahead of Cole Custer, Riley Herbst, Sam Mayer and the field. With the field making their way through the 14-turn circuit and back to the start/finish line, Larson led the first lap by three-tenths of a second over Gibbs followed by Custer, Herbst and rookie Sheldon Creed while Noah Gragson, Tyler Reddick, Mayer, Jeremy Clements and Josh Bilicki were in the top 10.
Through the second lap of the event, Larson retained the lead by two-tenths of a second over Gibbs, who continued to pressure Larson for the lead, while Custer, Herbst, Creed, Reddick, Gragson, Mayer, Clements and Bilicki remained in the top 10. Behind, Brandon Jones was in 11th followed by rookie Austin Hill, newcomer Sammy Smith, Sage Karam, Brett Moffitt, Alex Labbe, Anthony Alfredo, Justin Allgaier, Daniel Hemric and AJ Allmendinger.
Three laps later, Larson extended his advantage to more than a second while Gibbs and Custer battled for the runner-up spot ahead of Herbst and Creed.
By the sixth lap, Landon Cassill spun and went off the course in Turn 12 after he made contact with Ty Dillon, though the event remained under green.
Between Laps 7 and 8, the first round of green-flag pit stops commenced as John Hunter Nemechek pitted along with Reddick, Creed, Sammy Smith, Ryan Sieg, Preston Pardus and Brandon Brown. Not long after, the first caution of the event flew when Brett Moffitt over-drove Turn 5 and got his car stuck in the sand trap in Turn 5. At the same time, Alfredo and Andy Lally made contact with one another and spun in Turn 6.
The pair of incidents involving Moffitt, Alfredo and Lally were enough for the first stage scheduled on Lap 10 to conclude under caution as Larson captured the stage victory. Gibbs settled in second followed by Custer, Herbst, Brandon Jones, Gragson, Mayer, Clements, Allmendinger and Bilicki.
Under the stage break, some led by Larson pitted while the rest led by Gibbs remained on the track. During the pit stops, Chris Dyson and Bayley Currey have assessed penalties for having a crew member jump over the wall too soon while Lally spun while trying to enter his pit box.
The second stage started on Lap 12 as teammates Gibbs and Brandon Jones occupied the front row. At the start, Gibbs took off with the lead while Allmendinger overtook Jones for the runner-up spot through the first two turns. Then through a straightaway between Turns 3 and 4, Allmendinger drew himself alongside Gibbs in a bid for the lead before he succeeded in entering Turn 6. As Allmendinger retained the lead when he returned to the start/finish line, Gibbs remained in second followed by teammate Jones, Hemric and Berry while Creed, John Hunter Nemechek, Myatt Snider, Larson and Mayer occupied the top 10.
Then during the following lap, Allmendinger went briefly wide in Turn 5, which allowed Gibbs to draw himself even alongside Allmendinger as he reassumed the lead in Turn 6. Jones, meanwhile, remained in third ahead of Hemric as the field behind jostled for positions.
By Lap 15, Gibbs was leading by more than a second over Allmendinger before he was overtaken by a hard-charging Larson. Then in Turn 5, Mayer ran over the curbs and made contact against the wall entering Turn 5 as he briefly went off the course and into the sand trap before he limped back to pit road with right-front damage. By then, Alfredo overshot the first turn as he suffered a flat left-front tire.
Once Larson dueled and made his way back to the lead over Gibbs on Lap 16, Gibbs made his first pit stop of the day during the following lap followed by Allmendinger, Myatt Snider, Brandon Jones, Cassill, Hemric, Hill and Patrick Gallagher. By then, Joe Graf Jr. was slowly limping his way around the circuit with a flat right-rear tire.
When the second stage concluded on Lap 20, Larson captured his second stage victory of the day. Creed settled in second followed by Custer, Nemechek, Justin Allgaier, Sammy Smith, Herbst, Clements, Gragson and Alex Labbe.
Under the stage break, some led by Nemechek pitted while the rest led by Larson remained on the track.
With 22 laps remaining, the final stage commenced under green. At the start, Larson fended off Creed to retain the lead at the start while Creed and Custer battled for the runner-up spot. Behind, Allgaier retained fourth ahead of Herbst, Gragson and the field.
Then during the following lap, the caution flew when Gragson, who was rubbing fenders with Sage Karam entering the straightaway in Turn 4, veered dead right into Karam as both spun beneath the Sargento bridge. With both spinning in the middle of the circuit and kicking up dust on the circuit, a multi-car pileup ignited with Cassill, Snider, Moffitt, Bayley Currey, Andy Lally, Hemric, Nemechek, Josh Bilicki, Reddick, Clements and Brandon Brown sustaining damage and piling into the carnage. The incident was one that left Karam furious toward Gragson.
During the caution period and while the on-track safety workers continued to clear the carnage, few like Justin Allgaier, Ryan Sieg, Patrick Gallagher, Lally, Creed and Sammy Smith remained on the track while the rest led by Larson pitted. During the pit stops, Herbst, who also pitted, received a safety violation penalty. In addition, Allmendinger was penalized for speeding on pit road.
When the race proceeded under green with 17 laps remaining, Allgaier was able to pull ahead of Clements to retain the lead entering the first two turns while Larson fanned out and muscled his way into third place. Shortly after, Clements overtook Allgaier to take over the top spot entering the straightaway near Turn 4 before he was quickly overtaken by Larson entering Turn 5. Behind, Custer made his move into the runner-up spot as the field jostled for positions.
Then through Turns 12 to 14, Custer dueled and overtook Larson to lead a lap for himself. He then managed to retain the top spot by a narrow margin while Gibbs attempted to close in on the two leaders. By then, Allgaier pitted under green.
With less than 15 laps remaining, Custer extended his advantage to more than a second over Larson, who had Gibbs challenging him for the runner-up spot. Behind, Austin Hill was in fourth followed by Clements while Brandon Jones, Labbe, Creed, Miguel Paludo and Gragson were in the top 10. Meanwhile, Allmendinger was in 11th followed by Ryan Sieg, Preston Padres, Jeb Burton and Herbst while Bilicki, Sammy Smith, Lally, Josh Berry and Mayer were in the top 20.
Down to the final 11 laps of the event, driver Chris Dyson spun and smacked against the wall in Turn 12 as he came back across the track and nearly collected Mayer with the caution flying. By then, Custer was leading by more than a second over Larson and Gibbs while Hill, Brandon Jones, Clements, Labbe, Paludo, Creed and Gragson occupied the top 10.
During the caution period, all but Ryan Sieg and Andy Lally pitted as Larson exited pit road first followed by Gibbs and Hill. During the pit stops, Custer endured a slow pit stop and hit Preston Pardus. In addition, Gragson and Patrick Gallagher were penalized for speeding on pit road while Clements was penalized for an uncontrolled tire violation.
With nine laps remaining, the race restarted under green. At the start, Sieg held the lead for a brief moment before Larson rocketed his way back to the lead as the field fanned out through the first three turns. Behind, Custer briefly went off course as he was mired back in fifth.
When the field returned to the start/finish line, Larson was ahead by more than two seconds over Gibbs while Berry, Hill and Custer were in the top five. Meanwhile, Creed, who was in the top 10, started to have smoke pouring out of his No. 2 Whelen Chevrolet Camaro. Soon after, Sammy Smith spun and Paludo’s hood flew when he sustained damage. Despite the incident, the event remained under green while Larson checked away from the field.
Down to the final five laps of the event, Larson continued to lead by nearly two seconds over Gibbs while third-place Custer trailed by four-and-a-half seconds. Hill and Berry occupied the top five followed by Allgaier, Brandon Jones, Herbst, Allmendinger and Sammy Smith. Behind, Ryan Sieg was back in 11th followed by Sam Mayer, Clements, Preston Pardus, Gragson, Bilicki, Jeb Burton, Currey, Lally and Labbe were in the top 20.
Then with two laps remaining, the caution flew when Custer, who was running in third place while dealing with a break issue, made hard contact against the wall in Turn 5 as his car came to rest off the course in the fifth turn while the driver emerged uninjured. Custer’s incident was enough to send the event into overtime.
At the start of the first overtime attempt, Larson and Gibbs dueled for the lead entering the first turn and through the following two turns until he managed to fend off Gibbs on the inside lane entering the straightaway through Turns 4 and 5. As the field scrambled for positions, Larson managed to retain the top spot ahead of Gibbs and Hill through the turns.
When the white flag waved and the final lap started, Larson remained as the leader by a narrow margin over Gibbs, who had Larson within his sight as he issued his challenge for the lead. Then in Turn 3, Larson slipped and went wide as Gibbs, who bumped Larson earlier in Turn 2, assumed the lead in his No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota Supra. Larson then tried to close in for the lead in Turn 5, but Gibbs managed to retain the lead through Turns 6 and 7. With time running out as Gibbs remained in the lead through Turns 8 to 11, Larson then tried to make his move on the outside lane in Turn 12, but he could not make the move in his No. 17 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro stick as Gibbs remained as the leader. Through the final turn, Turn 14, Larson then made a final bid for the lead, but it was not enough as Gibbs managed to pull away through the uphill straightaway and capture the Road America victory by more than eight-tenths of a second over Larson.
The victory marked Gibbs’ fourth of this year’s Xfinity Series season and the eighth of his career as he became the 13th different competitor to win an Xfinity event at Road America. Ironically, this marked Gibbs’ third time winning an Xfinity event following a last-lap pass as he recorded the 190th Xfinity career win for Joe Gibbs Racing.
“I don’t know [how I beat Larson],” Gibbs said on USA Network. “I just wanna say all glory to Jesus Christ. Thank you to my team and Monster Energy. I had a fun time racing with Kyle. I thought it was gonna get a little rough there, but he’s such a great competitor. He’s a good person. We played golf the other day, so I wanna tell him thanks for the golf lessons. I still suck. Thank you so much. This is just awesome. I can’t believe it. This is just wonderful.”
“I felt like we were a little bit faster in the first half of the track,” Gibbs added. “The last two sectors I felt like we were not as fast, but I fee like, right now, I just need to earn respect back and that’s what I’m doing. Just gotta learn and not make mistakes. It’s cool to race against the Cup Series guys, so hopefully, that says something, but thankful to where I am at.”
Larson, whose final Xfinity Series start and victory occurred at Bristol Motor Speedway in August 2018, settled in the runner-up spot following a dominant run in Hendrick Motorsports’ return to the series. He is slated to compete in the upcoming Xfinity events at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 16 followed by Darlington Raceway on September 3 for JR Motorsports.
“[Gibbs] did a really good job,” Larson said. “It really started with my final corner coming to the white [flag]. I didn’t get through there very good. [I] Got a little bit tight and missed my apex, and was late back to the throttle. He had a run on me down the frontstretch, so obviously, kind of had to protect the inside [lane]. He just got my angles messed up for those two corners, so he did a really good job executing and I didn’t. Bummer, but really fun race there all race long…Fun and congrats to Ty. That was really impressive. He ran me clean and I was gonna run him clean. Just didn’t work out for me.”
Berry survived the late chaos to come home in third place while Austin Hill and Brandon Jones finished in the top five. Allmendinger, Herbst, Gragson, Clements and Ryan Sieg completed the top 10.
There were nine lead changes for six different leaders. The race featured five cautions for 12 laps.
With 10 races remaining in the 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series regular-season stretch, AJ Allmendinger continues to lead the regular-season standings by nine points over Ty Gibbs, 34 over Justin Allgaier, 39 over Noah Gragson and 74 over Josh Berry.
Ty Gibbs, Noah Gragson, Justin Allgaier, Josh Berry, AJ Allmendinger, Brandon Jones and rookie Austin Hill are currently guaranteed spots for the 2022 Xfinity Playoffs based on winning once throughout the regular season stretch while Sam Mayer, Riley Herbst, Daniel Hemric, Riley Herbst and Landon Cassill occupy the remaining vacant spots to the Playoffs based on points. Currently, Anthony Alfredo trails the top-12 cutline to the Playoffs by 72 points, Brett Moffitt trails by 87, Brandon Brown trails by 88, Jeb Burton trails by 94, Sheldon Creed trails by 98, Myatt Snider trails by 129, Alex Labbe trails by 135 and Jeremy Clements trails by 143.
1. Ty Gibbs, five laps led
2. Kyle Larson, 31 laps led, Stage 1 & 2 winner
3. Josh Berry
4. Austin Hill
5. Brandon Jones
6. AJ Allmendinger, one lap led
7. Riley Herbst
8. Noah Gragson
9. Jeremy Clements
10. Ryan Sieg, two laps led
11. Preston Pardus
12. Justin Allgaier, three laps led
13. Josh Bilicki
14. Andy Lally
15. Alex Labbe
16. Bayley Currey
17. Josh Williams
18. John Hunter Nemechek
19. Patrick Gallagher
20. Sam Mayer
21. Jeb Burton
22. Jesse Iwuji
23. Anthony Alfredo, one lap down
24. Sammy Smith – OUT, Engine
25. Cole Custer – OUT, Accident, six laps led
26. Miguel Paludo – OUT, Accident
27. Sheldon Creed – OUT, Engine
28. Chris Dyson – OUT, Accident
29. Daniel Hemric – OUT, Accident
30. Tyler Reddick – OUT, Accident
31. Sage Karam – OUT, Accident
32. Landon Cassill – OUT, Accident
33. Myatt Snider – OUT, Accident
34. Brandon Brown – OUT, Accident
35. Brett Moffitt – OUT, Accident
36. Joe Graf Jr. – OUT, Brakes
37. Ty Dillon – OUT, Header
38. Will Rodgers – OUT, Suspension
Next on the 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule is the series’ second visit of the season at the reconfigured Atlanta Motor Speedway. The event is scheduled to occur on Saturday, July 9, at 5 p.m. ET on USA Network.