Another NASCAR Xfinity Series race, another impressive triumph by Chris Gayle, and the entire No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Supra, this time with Rookie of The Year Contender Ty Gibbs notching the victory in Saturday’s Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway.
The 19-year-old driver made the final pass for the lead with 11 laps to go, driving strongly to the inside of Austin Cindric’s No. 22 Ford Mustang at the exit of turn two. From there, Gibbs pulled a gap of three-quarters of a second in the final laps to capture his fourth career victory in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
As a result, Joe Gibbs Racing collected their 11th NASCAR Xfinity Series victory of the season, all of which have been at the hands of the organization’s “All-Star Car”, which has been shared by the team’s four NASCAR Cup Series drivers, along with Gibbs and John Hunter Nemechek.
Austin Cindric came home in the runner-up position, leading seven times for a total of 151 laps. Cindric’s championship rival, AJ Allmendinger finished in third-place after a magnificent strategy call had the Kaulig Racing Chevrolet on brand-new tires with under 20 laps to go.
Justin Haley, Ryan Sieg, Brett Moffitt, and Michael Annett finish fourth through seventh on a similar strategy to Allmendinger, with Sam Mayer, Justin Allgaier, and Myatt Snider rounding out the top-10.
The event featured a total of 10 cautions for 46 laps, multiple of which included implications for the series’ eight remaining playoff drivers.
On Lap 98, just after the start of the third stage, Daniel Hemric and Noah Gragson were sent spinning down the track exiting turn two, causing minor damage to two of the series’ playoff contenders.
With only 20 laps to go, Gragson was able to rebound to third place, when contact from JR Motorsports teammate Sam Mayer sent Harrison Burton’s No. 20 Toyota up the track into Gragson, with both drivers making a significant outside wall impact. Both drivers were able to walk away under their own power.
Burton and Gragson would finish 34th and 35th, respectively, while Burton’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Brandon Jones and Daniel Hemric – both playoff contenders — each recorded finishes outside the top-10.
Heading into the final race of the ‘Round of 8’, both Austin Cindric and AJ Allmendinger hold a fairly safe margin over the bubble at 47 points, with Brandon Jones and Harrison Burton both sitting in must-win positions, 40 and 51 points behind the fourth-place cutoff.
2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff Grid (After 2 / 3 Races in Round 2):
- No. 22 – Austin Cindric (+47)
- No. 16 – AJ Allmendinger (+47)
- No. 7 – Justin Allgaier (+9)
- No. 18 – Daniel Hemric (+7)
- No. 11 – Justin Haley (-7)
- No. 9 – Noah Gragson (-24)
- No. 19 – Brandon Jones (-40)
- No. 20 – Harrison Burton (-51)