Amidst all of the questions, speculation, and chaos that surrounds Ty Gibbs on a week-to-week basis, the 19-year-old has found a way to keep himself focused on the task at hand, capturing the championship in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
Gibbs – who will make his third career NASCAR Cup Series start on Sunday – was able to keep his focus, despite a third consecutive weekend of short-notice double-duty, taking over the No. 45 Toyota Camry TRD for 23XI Racing while Kurt Busch recovers from a concussion.
The Charlotte, North Carolina-native was able to use a smart strategy call by crew chief Chris Gayle, to cycle his No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota GR Supra into the lead at the start of the race’s final stage.
Saturday’s final stage would run its entire 65-lap distance without the hindrance of a yellow, which meant that the track position gained by the Joe Gibbs Racing team’s strategy call would prove to be a critical component of winning the event.
Gibbs was able to stretch his lead substantially in the first portion of the run, before green-flag pit stops would string the field out even more, as second-place runner Justin Allgaier fumbled with a slow stop, allowing the No. 54 to be more comfortable out front.
Although the JR Motorsports driver was able to close the gap down around one second in the closing laps of the event, lap traffic played a huge role in assuring that the Joe Gibbs Racing entry would cross the start-finish line with the win.
Saturday’s New Holland 250 marked the fifth victory of the season for Ty Gibbs, a series-high, and the ninth of his NASCAR Xfinity Series career in 39 starts.
Justin Allgaier would have to settle for a runner-up result in Saturday’s event, his 10th top-five finish of the season. It’s the sixth consecutive season that Allgaier has accumulated double-digit top-five results.
Noah Gragson – who chose to make the opposite call as Ty Gibbs and Joe Gibbs Racing – came home in third place, despite having one of the best cars in the field. In three starts at Michigan, Gragson has yet to finish worse than third.
Brandon Jones and Austin Hill completed the race’s top-five finishers.
After a costly speeding penalty, Josh Berry was able to rebound to sixth, with AJ Allmendinger, Daniel Hemric, Riley Herbst, and Landon Cassill rounding out the top-10.
Sammy Smith – who started the event fifth – also showed lots of speed over the course of the event, and was in line to have a solid top-five finish, when a speeding penalty forced him to take a drive-through penalty, relegating him to 12th.
Leaving Michigan, the battle for the regular-season championship is continuing to heat up, with AJ Allmendinger, Justin Allgaier, and Ty Gibbs all sitting within 19 points of each other at the top of the heap.
Down around the playoff bubble, Sheldon Creed is 52 points behind Ryan Sieg for the final spot in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs, as the series heads to Watkins Glen International in two weeks time, with road racing being a strength for Creed and a weakness for Sieg.