Joe Gibbs Racing’s Ty Gibbs does it again
An unexpected win happened for the driver of the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota last weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The 19-year-old, Ty Gibbs, didn’t think he would make the trip to Victory Lane after a mistake on pit road seemed to have cost him the race, but this is NASCAR, and anything can happen.
In an intense race that ultimately went to overtime, Gibbs found his way back to the front of the pack in the last lap and took home his second checkered flag of the season (Las Vegas, Atlanta), becoming the first multiple winner of the season.
“What the heck? Oh, my gosh! I didn’t expect this at all,” said Gibbs. “That’s one where I learned a big lesson-just never give up… Now I’m going to go party with the boys—let’s go!”
February’s Daytona winner, Austin Hill came in second, followed by AJ Allmendinger, Riley Herbst and Landon Cassill. Ryan Sieg, who was passed by Gibbs for the lead on the last lap, had a 10th-place finish.
Gibbs is now locked into the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs with his wins and will look to pad his Playoff points total going forward. This weekend at the Circuit of The Americas he will be making his Xfinity Series track debut at the 3.41-mile road course. Though this will be his first start at COTA, don’t expect it to slow him down any- two of his six career Xfinity wins came on road courses (2021: Daytona RC and Watkins Glen).
Xfinity Series is ready for COTA
Last May, NASCAR Xfinity Series fans saw Kyle Busch come out victorious in the inaugural Pit Boss 250 at the 3.41-mile road course at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas. This year, we won’t see Busch competing in Austin in the NASCAR Xfinity Series so there will inevitably be a new COTA winner in Victory Lane on Saturday.
With this being the first of six road courses on the 2022 season schedule, here’s a dive into a couple drivers who have had success in road courses:
Ty Gibbs– The Joe Gibbs Racing driver has already proved to be a force this season and it’s very possible that he takes his third win of the season in Austin this weekend.
Last season, Gibbs won his first-ever NASCAR Xfinity Series race at the Daytona Road Course. He went on to win again at Watkins Glen International.
His success with road courses combined with the victories he’s had this season might be the perfect mix for the Pit Boss 250.
AJ Allmendinger– The veteran No. 16 Kaulig Racing driver seems to have a niche for road courses. In 65 NASCAR Xfinity Series races, he has posted 10 wins with six of those wins being at road courses. (Road America-2013, 2019; Mid-Ohio- 2013,2021; Charlotte-2020,2021)
Allmendinger has yet to post a win this season but it’s very apparent that he’s fighting for his chance to head to Victory Lane. He has posted a top-10 finish in every race this season and in 2021, he posted 18 top fives and 22 top 10s in his 33 starts.
Noah Gragson clings to points lead heading to the Circuit of The Americas
Last weekend’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway was not kind to the JR Motorsports drivers as all four finished outside the top-20 for the first time this season. NASCAR Xfinity Series points leader Noah Gragson was in an incident and was relegated to a 26th-place finish. Now the Las Vegas native heads to the Circuit of The Americas in Texas for the Pit Boss 250 on Saturday, March 26 (4:30 p.m. ET on FS1, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) for the first road course of the season.
Gragson continues to hold the point standings lead by 19 points over second place Ty Gibbs and third place AJ Allmendinger – who are tied with 204 points. Gragson’s 2022 season has been stellar, not finishing worse than third in the first four races; including a victory at Phoenix.
Gragson is especially eager to get back to COTA this weekend, because in last season’s race he finished last due to an engine failure on Lap 13.
NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.
Bubba Wallace rejoins JGR for select Xfinity Series races – BubbaWallace, driver of the No. 23 Toyota for 23XI Racing in the NASCAR Cup Series will also be competing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at the Circuit of The Americas this weekend. He will pilot the No. 18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing and will race later this season at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course as well.
Wallace had his first stint with JGR in 2012 and 2014 where he made six starts and posted four top-10 finishes.
Wallace last competed in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2021 for Hattori Racing Enterprises at Michigan International Speedway posting a top-10 finish.
Sunoco Rookie of the Year update – Things have remained pretty consistent for this year’s group of Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders as we head into week six of the season.
Austin Hill is still leading the way with 137 points, one win (Daytona), two top fives and two top 10s.
Sheldon Creed trails in second with 122 points. Although he has yet to post a win, he does have three top 10 finishes this season.
Kyle Sieg takes the third-place spot with 74 points, followed by Jesse Iwuji with 24.