Las Vegas Xfinity race: Ty Gibbs steals win in final laps
Ty Gibbs didn’t have the dominant car in Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. But he dominated when it mattered most.
On the race’s final restart with six laps to go, Gibbs took advantage of a push from Justin Allgaier to clear Noah Gragson for the lead.
Gibbs went on to lead the final six laps - the only laps he led all day - and score his first win of the season over Gragson under caution.
The day ended well for Gibbs after he had to start from the rear for unapproved adjustments and was involved in two early dust-ups with Ryan Sieg in the race.
On Lap 3, Gibbs’ car made slight contact with Sieg’s, which was promptly sent into the Turn 4 wall. After the race was red-flagged for weather at Lap 19, Sieg and Gibbs had a conversation on pit road over the incident.
When they were through talking, Sieg was asked by Fox Sports if everything had been settled between them for the day. Sieg replied: “I don’t think so. We’ll find out.”
Indeed, shortly after the race resumed, Sieg attempted to run Gibbs into the Turn 4 wall on Lap 30.
But Sieg instead spun himself out and collected Sheldon Creed and Brett Moffitt in the process. That proved to be the end of Sieg’s afternoon.
In post-race comments to Fox Sports, Gibbs was remorseful for the early contact he made with Sieg.
“It wasn’t my best decision and I’m sorry to their whole group,” said Gibbs. “Ryan’s family, they worked so hard, so I want to apologize to them.”
In regards to the final restart, Gibbs thanked Allgaier for pushing him into the lead.
“That helped me out a lot,” said Gibbs. “I had a fun time racing with the JR (Motorsports) cars.
“Hopefully, we can keep it going and go out and win some more races.”
Gragson won both stages and led 52 laps Saturday in route to his third top-three finish to open the season.
But after he was beaten for the race win on the final restart, he expressed some reservations about it.
“I just kind of got beaten at our own game there,” he told Fox Sports. “Restarts just, you know, came up short. It felt like he was rolling, but I guess that’s the box that we’re in.
”... We got warned earlier in the race for kind of doing something similar to that, but I don’t know. We just need to be better. Congrats to them. We’ll keep working hard. ... We’ll come back stronger next weekend.”
Series champion Daniel Hemric finished third. Josh Berry finished fourth. Allgaier completed the top five finishers.
STAGE 1 WINNER: Noah Gragson
STAGE 2 WINNER: Noah Gragson
DISQUALIFIED: Joe Graf Jr.'s No. 07 SS Green Light Racing Ford - which was driven to victory last week at Auto Club Speedway by Cup Series regular Cole Custer - was disqualified for having three lug nuts loose and not secure in post-race inspection (Rule 10.5.2.5.d - Xfinity Series rulebook). Graf finished 29th in the race, but after the DQ, he was credited with last place - 38th. There were no other issues from post-race inspection.
WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Gragson lost out on a win at his home track, but between him, Berry and Allgaier, JR Motorsports still put three drivers in the top five. ... Creed and Moffitt overcame their scrapes with the wayward Sieg to finish seventh and eighth, respectively. Creed also rallied from a pit road speeding penalty during the final stage.
WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Matt Mills suffered a heavy wreck at Lap 84. Contact from another competitor sent Mills hard into the inside backstretch wall. He climbed out of the car and walked away; he was later checked and released from the infield care center.
NOTABLE: During a debris caution at Lap 16, rain drops began to fall at the track. Soon after, the rain turned into snow flurries, which led to a red flag stopping the race at Lap 19. The red stayed out for nearly 42 minutes before the race resumed under caution. The race went green again at Lap 23.
NEXT: Phoenix Raceway - Saturday, March 12, 4:30 p.m. ET, FS1