Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series event at Road America will likely prove to be a pivotal moment in the career of Ty Gibbs, as the 19-year-old bested a heavily-stacked field to pick up the victory in the HENRY 180.
Among the drivers making up Saturday’s field at the 4.048-mile road course was Kyle Larson, defending champion of the NASCAR Cup Series, the driver with which Gibbs primarily battled through the closing stages of the race.
Ultimately, it was a vicious crash for Cole Custer – one of the main factors for Saturday’s victory throughout the first-half of the event — that erased the two-plus second lead by Kyle Larson, sending the field into NASCAR Overtime.
On the restart, Larson spun the tires on his No. 17 Chevrolet Camaro, allowing Gibbs to draw even with the Cup Series regular, and beginning the final battle for the victory between the two drivers.
In the end, it was a smart, clean final-lap move by Gibbs that would give the No. 54 Toyota Supra the lead, after Larson attempted to block the youngster’s advances heading into Turn 4.
TY GIBBS PULLS OFF THE LAST-LAP PASS FOR THE WIN!
— NASCAR on TSN (@NASCARonTSN) July 2, 2022
Larson would attempt to recover the lead from Gibbs throughout the final lap, getting close a couple of times, but being unable to get alongside the Joe Gibbs Racing entry, handing the Charlotte, North Carolina-native his fourth victory of the season.
The 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion would come home in second place, just over eight-tenths of a second behind the race-winner. Josh Berry, despite next-to-no road course experience and a damaged Chevrolet Camaro, would come home in third.
Austin Hill and Brandon Jones each scored top-five results in Saturday’s HENRY 180.
AJ Allmendinger – who entered the event trying to become the first driver to win four consecutive road course races in the NASCAR Xfinity Series — came home in sixth, with Riley Herbst, Noah Gragson, Jeremy Clements, and Ryan Sieg rounding out the top-10.
The event, despite only featuring four full-course cautions for the incident, did have a lot of built-in drama, especially surrounding a massive accident on Lap 25, which stemmed from contact between Noah Gragson and Sage Karam.
After tempers flared in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, Gragson appeared to turn right on the straightaway, turning himself and Karam around and collecting 16 cars, including multiple hard hits for Landon Cassill, Tyler Reddick, and Brandon Brown.
Leaving Road America, the NASCAR Xfinity Series returns to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the second time this season, with AJ Allmendinger holding a nine-point gap on Ty Gibbs for the regular-season title.