After assuming command of the field at the start of the final stage, Ty Gibbs never looked back as he cycled his way to a dominant victory in the New Holland 250 at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday, August 6.
The 19-year-old Gibbs from Charlotte, North Carolina, rallied from starting ninth to lead twice for a race-high 54 of 125-scheduled laps, including the final 16, as he beat runner-up Justin Allgaier by more than a second to claim his fifth Xfinity Series victory of the 2022 season at the Irish Hills.
With on-track qualifying that determined the starting lineup occurring on Saturday, Noah Gragson started on pole position for the second time this season after recording a pole-winning lap at 190.370 mph in 37.821 seconds. Joining him on the front row was AJ Allmendinger, winner of last weekend’s Xfinity event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course who clocked in his best lap at 190.340 mph in 37.827 seconds.
Prior to the event, names like Bayley Currey, David Starr and CJ McLaughlin started at the rear of the field due to unapproved adjustments to their respective cars. Blaine Perkins and Matt Mills also dropped to the rear due to an engine change made to their cars.
When the green flag waved and the race started, Gragson and Allmendinger dueled early for the lead until Gragson gained a strong run on the outside lane to pull ahead through the backstretch. As Brandon Jones issued a three-wide challenge on Allmendinger and Justin Allgaier for the runner-up spot, Gragson proceeded to lead the first lap. Behind, Allmendinger retained second ahead of Jones while Daniel Hemric challenged Allgaier for fourth place.
Three laps later and with the field jostling early for positions, Josh Berry, who was battling Joe Gibbs Racing’s Sammy Smith and Ty Gibbs for spots in the top 10, washed up the track and scrapped the outside wall in the backstretch as Kyle Weatherman made the slightest contact against Berry while quickly moving to the left to avoid hitting Berry. Then entering Turn 3, Weatherman got loose underneath Berry as Berry’s No. 8 Harrison’s Chevrolet Camaro washed up the track towards the outside wall again. Despite the contact, both proceeded at full race pace as Berry was mired back in the top 15.
Through the first five scheduled laps, Gragson was leading by six-tenths of a second over Allmendinger followed by Brandon Jones, Allgaier and Hemric while Sammy Smith, Ty Gibbs, rookie Sheldon Creed, rookie Austin Hill and Landon Cassill were in the top 10.
At the Lap 10 mark, Gragson extended his advantage to more than a second over Allmendinger, who was fending off Allgaier and Brandon Jones for the runner-up spot, while Sammy Smith moved his No. 18 Pilot Flying J Toyota Supra inside the top five. Meanwhile, Berry was in 12th in between Riley Herbst and Brandon Brown while Myatt Snider and Ryan Sieg occupied the top 15.
By Lap 20, Gragson, who remained as the leader, had his advantage decreased to less than half a second with the latter closing in on the former and bidding for the lead. Meanwhile, Allmendinger, Sammy Smith and Brandon Jones were in the top five followed by Ty Gibbs, Hemric, Hill, Creed and Cassill.
When the first stage concluded on Lap 30, Gragson carved his No. 9 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet Camaro through lapped traffic and to his ninth stage victory of the 2022 season. Teammate Allgaier, who could not navigate his way around Gragson for the lead, settled in second followed by Sammy Smith, Allmendinger, Gibbs, Brandon Jones, Hemric, Hill, Cassill and Berry.
Under the stage break, the leaders led by Gragson pitted and Gragson retained the lead following quick service from his pit crew followed by Allmendinger, Smith, Allgaier, Hill and Hemric.
The second stage started on Lap 36 as Gragson and Allmendinger occupied the front row. At the start, Allgaier pushed Allmendinger to the lead until Allgaier issued a challenge for the lead entering the first turn. Allmendinger, however, pulled away on the outside lane followed by a fast-charging Gragson, Allgaier, Smith, Gibbs and the field.
Then as the field entered the frontstretch, Gragson made his move beneath Allmendinger in his bid for the lead, but a bold three-wide move on the outside lane moved Allgaier to the lead entering the first turn followed by Smith and Ty Gibbs while Allmendinger and Gragson fell back to fourth and fifth.
On Lap 40, the caution flew when CJ McLaughlin got loose and pounded the outside wall in Turn 2 as he spun below the apron while being dodged by the competitors running towards the rear of the field. At the same time, Matt Mills spun and backed his car into the outside wall while trying to brake and dodge McLaughlin.
When the race proceeded under green on Lap 45, Allgaier and Ty Gibbs dueled for the lead until Allgaier used the outside lane to his advantage and pulled ahead with the lead through the first two turns. Behind, Smith moved back into the runner-up spot followed by Gibbs, Allmendinger and Brandon Jones while Gragson was back in sixth.
At the Lap 50 mark, Allgaier continued to lead by a tenth of a second over a hard-charging Sammy Smith followed by Gibbs, Allmendinger and Gragson while Brandon Jones, Sam Mayer, Landon Cassill, Hemric and Riley Herbst were in the top 10. Behind, Berry was in 11th followed by John Hunter Nemechek, Creed, Hill, Anthony Alfredo, Kaz Grala, Ryan Sieg, Myatt Snider, Kyle Weatherman and Kyle Sieg.
Three laps later, the caution returned when Dillon Bassett made contact with David Starr entering the backstretch as Starr got into the outside wall and spun below the backstretch without hitting the inside wall. During the caution period, some led by race leader Allgaier and Smith pitted while the rest led by Allmendinger and Gragson remained on the track.
With two laps remaining in the second stage, the race restarted under green as teammates Allmendinger and Cassill occupied the front row. At the start, teammates Cassill and Allmendinger dueled for the lead while their other teammate, Hemric, washed up the track and nearly got into the outside wall entering the backstretch. After dueling with Cassill throughout the backstretch, Allmendinger pulled ahead entering the frontstretch to retain the lead and commence the final lap of the second stage. Meanwhile, Gragson overtook Cassill for the runner-up spot as he bolted his way towards the front.
When the second stage concluded on Lap 60, Gragson, who gained a strong run through the backstretch before drawing himself alongside Allmendinger’s No. 16 Action Industries Chevrolet Camaro through the frontstretch, edged Allmendinger by 0.035 seconds to capture his 10th stage victory and second of the day on Lap 60. Allmendinger settled in second followed by Berry, Cassill, Ryan Sieg, Anthony Alfredo, Kaz Grala, Myatt Snider, Gibbs and Hill.
Under the stage break, some led by Gragson and Allmendinger pitted while the rest led by Ty Gibbs remained on the track. During the pit stops, Berry was penalized for speeding on pit road.
With 59 laps remaining, the final stage started as teammates Gibbs and Sammy Smith occupied the front row. At the start, Gibbs launched his No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota Supra to the lead on the outside lane. Shortly after, Hill moved into the runner-up spot while Smith was being pressured by Allgaier, Sam Mayer and Brandon Jones for positions in the top five for nearly a full lap.
Four laps later, Sam Mayer ran into the rear of Smith’s No. 18 Toyota as Smith was engaged in a fierce battle with Allgaier for third place, which damaged the left-front fender of Mayer’s No. 1 BUSDX Chevrolet Camaro and caused a tire rub as he began to slide below the leaderboard. During the following lap, he made an unscheduled pit stop under green while Smith remained on the track in fourth place.
Back on the track and down to the final 50 laps of the event, Gibbs was leading by more than two seconds over Allgaier, who overtook Hill for the runner-up spot. Teammates Smith and Brandon Jones were in the top five while Herbst, Allmendinger, Gragson, Creed and Cassill occupied the top 10. Behind, John Hunter Nemechek was in 11th while Brandon Brown, Hemric, Berry and Alfredo were in the top 15.
Ten laps later, Gibbs, who reported debris on his grille, continued to lead by more than two seconds over Allgaier while Smith, Hill and Jones, who had Allmendinger and Gragson closing in, were in the top five. Shortly after, however, Gibbs was able to use the lapped car of Blaine Perkins to remove the debris from his grille and retain the lead.
Another 10 laps later, Gibbs retained the lead by nearly two seconds over Allgaier. Behind, Smith, Gragson and Hill were scored in the top five followed by Brandon Jones, Allmendinger, Herbst, Berry and Hemric.
Four laps later, a late cycle of green flag pit stops occurred as Brandon Jones pitted his No. 19 Menards Toyota Supra along with Allgaier. During the following lap, Gibbs surrendered the lead to pit for four fresh tires and fuel along with Creed, Gragson and Smith, who led a lap for himself prior to pitting. During the pit stops, Sammy Smith’s strong run was spoiled when he was penalized for speeding on pit road.
With 20 laps remaining, Berry, who has yet to pit, was leading by more than 13 seconds over Alfredo followed by Sieg, Weatherman and Gibbs. Meanwhile, David Starr experienced a scary moment while pitting as the right-front tire on his car exploded amid a fire.
Five laps later, Gibbs cycled his way back to the lead after Ryan Sieg and Kyle Weatherman pitted. By then, Berry and Alfredo had pitted while Allgaier was in the runner-up spot followed by Gragson, Jones and Hill.
Down to the final 10 laps of the event, Gibbs was leading by more than a second over Allgaier, who was experiencing difficulties navigating his way through lapped traffic, followed by Gragson, Jones and Hill while Allmendinger, Berry, Hemric, Herbst and Cassill were in the top 10. Creed was back in 11th ahead of Sammy Smith, Ryan Sieg, Brandon Brown and Anthony Alfredo, all of whom were on the lead lap.
With five laps remaining, Gibbs, who was trying to navigate and lap Ryan Sieg and Alfredo, continued to lead by more than a second over Allgaier while Gragson, Jones and Hill stabilized themselves in the top five.
When the white flag waved and the final lap started, Gibbs remained as the leader by more than a second over Allgaier. With Allgaier unable to narrow the deficit, Gibbs, who was proceeding to lap Brandon Brown, cycled his way back to the frontstretch as he streaked his No. 54 Toyota to the finish line and captured his fifth checkered flag of the 2022 season.
In addition, Gibbs, who last won at Road America during the Fourth of July weekend, captured his first NASCAR national touring series victory at the Irish Hills and his ninth career win in his 39th overall start in the Xfinity circuit. He also recorded the sixth victory at Michigan for Joe Gibbs Racing and the fifth for the Toyota nameplate as he trails the regular-season points lead by 28 points with five races prior to the start of the 2022 Xfinity Series Playoffs.
“We had a very fast Monster Energy Toyota GR Supra,” Gibbs said on USA Network. “I’m so excited. I think this style of racing shows the strategy and the pit stops. It’s pretty spread out. My guys did a great job. My pit crew, they work so hard. I work out with them during the weekend. I see how hard they work, so every one of them did a good job. All glory to God. My car was faster than Xfinity high speed internet. Just kidding it wasn’t that fast. I just race, week in and week out, but [there’s] people who get all excited and think they’re making a huge statement and then they get in the playoffs and suck. I’m just doing what I can, week in and week out.”
Allgaier, who led 17 laps, settled in the runner-up spot while Gragson, who led 39 laps and won the first and second stage, came home in third place after he was unable to charge his way back to the lead during the final stage.
“I just had a couple of errors today that really kept us from racing [Gibbs],” Allgaier said. “Hats off to Ty. He did a great job. This team, our BRANDT Professional Agricultural Camaro was really good all day. We chose to play the right strategy. We gave up some points in the regular-season points, but I think it was the right strategy. I picked the wrong lane on one of the restarts and that was just kind of the difference maker, but all in all, a good day. A hot day, but a good day. Proud of our team. Proud of the effort.”
“I felt like we had a good enough car to be able to get back up there,” Gragson said. “[I] Just kind of struggled on the short run. We won the first stage and then, kind of got shuffled back on the restarts on the second stage. [I] Decided to stay out, ended up winning the second stage. Once everything cycled through and we pitted after this stage, those guys started up front and on the tires they took. Just struggled, but really proud of the effort by all the guys sticking behind us. You’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t. We got two Playoff points, but I felt like we were good enough to win.”
Brandon Jones and Hill finished in the top five while Berry, Allmendinger, Hemric, Herbst and Cassill completed the top 10 on the track. Following his late pit road penalty, Sammy Smith ended up in 12th place, the final competitor on the lead lap.
There were 12 lead changes for nine different leaders. The race featured four cautions for 19 laps. Only 12 of 38 starters finished on the lead lap.
With five races remaining in the 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series regular-season stretch, AJ Allmendinger continues to lead the regular-season standings by 19 points over Justin Allgaier, 28 over Ty Gibbs, 87 over Noah Gragson and 98 over Josh Berry.
Ty Gibbs, Noah Gragson, Justin Allgaier, AJ Allmendinger, Josh Berry, rookie Austin Hill and Brandon Jones are currently guaranteed spots for the 2022 Xfinity Playoffs based on winning once throughout the regular season stretch while Riley Herbst, Sam Mayer, Daniel Hemric, Landon Cassill, and Ryan Sieg occupy the remaining vacant spots to the Playoffs based on points. Rookie Sheldon Creed trails the top-12 cutline by 52 points, Anthony Alfredo trails by 75, Brandon Brown trails by 87, Jeb Burton trails by 155, Myatt Snider trails by 156 and Jeremy Clements trails by 170.
1. Ty Gibbs, 54 laps led
2. Justin Allgaier, 17 laps led
3. Noah Gragson, 39 laps led, Stage 1 & 2 winner
4. Brandon Jones
5. Austin Hill, one lap led
6. Josh Berry, three laps led
7. AJ Allmendinger, seven laps led
8. Daniel Hemric
9. Riley Herbst
10. Landon Cassill
11. Sheldon Creed
12. Sammy Smith, one lap led
13. Brandon Brown, one lap down
14. Anthony Alfredo, one lap down, one lap led
15. Ryan Sieg, one lap down, two laps led
16. Kyle Weatherman, one lap down
17. Myatt Snider, one lap down
18. Kaz Grala, one lap down
19. John Hunter Nemechek, one lap down
20. JJ Yeley, one lap down
21. Kaz Grala, one lap down
22. Jeb Burton, one lap down
23. Joe Graf Jr., one lap down
24. Mason Massey, one lap down
25. Patrick Emerling, one lap down
26. Alex Labbe, one lap down
27. Ryan Ellis, one lap down
28. Josh Bilicki, one lap down
29. Ryan Vargas, two laps down
30. Bayley Currey, two laps down
31. Jeremy Clements, two laps down
32. Blaine Perkins, two laps down
33. Sam Mayer, two laps down
34. Dillon Bassett, three laps down
35. David Starr – OUT, Hub
36. Josh Williams – OUT, Electrical
37. CJ McLaughlin – OUT, Accident
38. Matt Mills – OUT, Accident
Next on the 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule is Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York, which will occur on August 20 at 3 p.m. ET on USA Network.