Photo courtesy of Sean Gardner | Getty Images
Joe Gibbs Racing No. 54 driver Ty Gibbs won his fifth NASCAR Xfinity Series race in 2022 in the New Holland 250 at Michigan International Speedway, using pit strategy to lead the start of the final stage and staying out front over JR Motorsports No. 7 driver Justin Allgaier.
🎶I can do my burnout with no handle bars 🎶@tygibbs_ | @JoeGibbsRacing pic.twitter.com/IfOgvHPqXX
— NASCAR Xfinity (@NASCAR_Xfinity) August 6, 2022
“I think this style of racing shows the strategy and the pit stops,” Gibbs said to NBC Sports. “My guys did a great job. My car was faster than Xfinity internet. I’m just kidding, it wasn’t as fast.”
Gibbs’s strategy involved pitting before the end of Stage 2 after a late-stage caution. JR Motorsports No. 9 driver Noah Gragson elected to stay out and claim a Stage 2 win.
Gragson, who sat on pole for the second time of his career, swept the stages and now has a series-leading 10.
Gragson led all 30 laps of Stage 1 and stayed out after a late-stage caution in Stage 2 thanks to a spin from SS-Green Light Racing No. 08 driver David Starr after making contact with Bassett Racing No. 77 driver Dillon Bassett.
The only other multi-car caution occurred on Lap 41 when RSS Racing No. 38 driver CJ McLaughlin and BJ McLeod Motorsports No. 78 driver Matt Mills spun at the same time in separate incidents.
Both cars were unable to continue, capping off a miserable day for Mills, who had an engine blow up during practice in the morning.
Gragson and Kaulig Racing No. 16 driver AJ Allmendinger, the points leader coming into the race, decided to stay out and go for the stage win. Both drivers took the outside at the ‘Choose Cone’, letting Kaulig Racing No. 10 driver Landon Cassill take the bottom on the front row.
In the two-lap sprint, Gragson made a swift pass on Cassill and got a big run on Allmendinger to pass him at the line.
'@NoahGragson scoots on by AJ Allmendinger to take Stage 2 at @MISpeedway! #NASCAR
📺 : @USA_Network pic.twitter.com/s9ApW7ea2E
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) August 6, 2022
Gragson started the final stage in the middle of the pack, but a caution-free final 60 laps made the checkered flag come too early for him to come back despite being the fastest car.
“I felt like we had a good enough car to be able to get back up there, just kind of struggled on the short run,” Gragson said to NBC Sports. “[We] ended up winning that second stage, once everything cycled through and we pitted after the stage those guys started out front. We got two playoff points but it felt like we were good enough to win.”
Gragson came home in third place.
The playoff points for Gragson were huge, as he and Gibbs battled to have the most. Gibbs got the upper hand in that battle today, grabbing five with the win while Gragson took two for each stage.
The only drama Gibbs saw when leading in the final stage was when a large piece of debris got stuck on his grille on Lap 85. The car began to push water from overheating quickly after, forcing Gibbs to give up some of his lead to get in the draft of Our Motorsports No. 02 driver Blaine Perkins to blow the debris off.
Perkins made his Xfinity season debut at Michigan, replacing Brett Moffitt for the rest of the season.
Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 driver Sammy Smith made his third career Xfinity Series start after racing at Road America and Pocono Raceway to 24th and 31st-place finishes respectively.
The 2021 ARCA Menards Series East champion had a career performance at Michigan, running in the top five with a third-place finish in Stage 1. That performance was stunted after a pit road speeding penalty during green flag stops in the final stage on Lap 103.
Smith still finished a career-best 12th in his first Xfinity race at an oval.
Richard Childress Racing No. 21 driver Austin Hill had a solid run as well, the most recent winner at an oval at Atlanta Motor Speedway finished fifth at Michigan.
Hill will be making his Cup Series debut in the No. 33 Chevrolet Camaro for RCR on Sunday.
“We didn’t qualify well, but we thought we had a pretty good car,” Hill said to NBC Sports. “Andy [Street] did a great job calling the shots all day. We came down pit road right before the end of Stage 2 and got us some track position.”
Hill is currently riding an eight-race top-10 streak and has finished in the top 10 in 10 of the last 11 races. The only race he finished outside 10th was at Charlotte Motor Speedway where he finished 14th.
RCR No. 2 driver Sheldon Creed remains on the outside looking in for the final playoff spot. Creed lost two points to RSS Racing No. 39 driver Ryan Sieg, who grew his lead to 52 points.
Creed finished 11th and Sieg ended up 15th.
Allmendinger also extended his lead by two points for the regular season title on Allgaier to 19. Gibbs closed the gap down to 28 points in third to Allmendinger.
The 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series will take a week off and will return to a road course at Watkins Glen International in Schuyler County, New York on Saturday, August 20 at 3 p.m. ET. The race can be watched on USA Network and the NBC Sports App as well as listened to on Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Technical Inspection: No issues (Winner – No. 54 Ty Gibbs)