Ty Gibbs Picks Up Second Win of the Year in Attrition Filled Race at Atlanta

The NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to the reconfigured Atlanta Motor Speedway for the first time, with a lot of uncertainty about how the cars will handle the track’s new “pseudo-superspeedway” style of racing.

Following the storms on Friday that led to the cancellation of qualifying, the starting grid was set according to the rulebook. JR Motorsports teammates Noah Gragson and Josh Berry would roll off from row one, followed by Joe Gibbs teammates Brandon Jones and Ty Gibbs on row two. Before the green flag dropped, Riley Herbst headed to pit road due to a suspected tire issues, which sent him to the back of the field.

The green flag flew and saw Noah Gragson jump to the lead, pushed by Brandon Jones. The first several laps saw a number of side by side battles as the drivers tried to feel out the new track, but by lap 10 most of the field had gone single file.

A competition caution at lap 20 prompted a few drivers to pull out of line and challenge for position. While the racing got intense, the field made it to the caution without incident. A number of cars pitted under the competition yellow, most notably all three Kaulig Racing cars – though Daniel Hemric would have to come back down pit road as the team took too much tape off the nose of the car.

Noah Gragson maintained the lead when the green flag flew again, and the field raced mostly double wide for the next several laps.

Coming to the end of stage one, the JR Motorsports cars took over the top four spots in the field. Josh Berry made a strong move coming out of turn four to take the lead from Noah Gragson and steal the stage win from Gragson who had dominated the race to that point.

Stage one results:

1) Josh Berry
2) Noah Gragson
3) Justin Allgaier
4) Sam Mayer
5) Trevor Bayne
6) Austin Hill
7) Jeb Burton
8) Brandon Brown
9) Brandon Jones
10) Brett Moffitt

Pit stops over the stage break saw Austin Hill win the race off pit road. Noah Gragson had a poor stop and lost several spots. Brandon Jones was hit with a speeding penalty, while Bayley Currey was penalized for a crew member being over the wall to soon.

The Kaulig Racing cars, as well as Jade Buford – who had all pitted under the competition caution – stayed out and took over the top spots with A.J. Allmendinger taking the point. Alpha Prime Racing teammates Tommy Joe Martins and Sage Karam also stayed out under the stage break, and filled out the top-five spots when Landon Cassill fell back.

On lap 51 Noah Gragson got into the wall after being put four wide in turn two, and was forced to pit, going a lap down. Soon after, Riley Herbst also came to pit road with an overheating issue. With 14 to go in stage two, Ryan Sieg also began to overheat, and had to drop out of the main pack.

With five to go in the second stage, several cars began to pull out of line to challenge for stage points led by Austin Hill on the inside line. Despite the efforts, the top-five would hold strong, and A.J. Allmendinger would secure the stage win.

Stage two results:

1) A.J. Allmendinger
2) Daniel Hemric
3) Jade Buford
4) Tommy Joe Martins
5) Sage Karam
6) Sheldon Creed
7) Brandon Brown
8) Austin Hill
9) Jeb Burton
10) Landon Cassill

Stage break pit stops saw Sheldon Creed win the race off pit road by taking two tires, followed by Austin Hill and Trevor Bayne. On the pace laps following pit stops, Daniel Hemric, Brandon Brown, and Kyle Weatherman were all hit with choose cone violations.

The green flag flew with 75 to go, and Sheldon Creed took the point. The field continued to race two wide, doing so cleanly. With 65 to go, Trevor Bayne took the lead from Sheldon Creed, who would go on to battle Myatt Snider for the lead over the next few laps.

With 57 to go, the first incident related caution of the day flew as Jeb Burton tried to force it three wide coming out of turn two and spun Jade Buford, who went on to collect Jeremy Clements – an unfortunate end for Buford, who had been having an excellent day.

Pit stops followed for a number of drivers, many of whom stopped for only fuel. Those who did not stop were, at the time, not sure if they would be able to make it to the finish on fuel. The green flag would come back out with 51 to go with Trevor Bayne and Austin Hill on the front row, followed by Ty Gibbs and Sheldon Creed.

On that same lap, Joe Graf Jr. and Daniel Hemric got together coming out of turn four and made heavy contact with the wall, quickly bringing out another caution. Jeffrey Earnhardt would get the free pass. After a lengthy yellow, the green flag would wave again with 41 to go, with Trevor Bayne still in the lead, pushed by Ty Gibbs.

With 35 to go the caution would come out again as Sam Mayer spun by himself through the infield grass after cutting a tire down. The green would come back out with 30 laps to go with Trevor Bayne still leading, with the Kaulig cars of A.J. Allmendinger and Landon Cassill on the inside line.

The field battled two wide with 25 to go, at which point Brandon Brown got spun from the top-10 when Sheldon Creed tried to force it three wide when there wasn’t enough room. Fortunately, despite the spin taking place in the middle of the pack, nobody made heavy contact or sustained day ending damage.

The green flag came back out with 20 to go with Austin Hill leading, as he had just edged ahead of Trevor Bayne before the caution flew. Trevor Bayne and Ty Gibbs began to fall back as they were separated from eachother, and surrounded by the Chevrolets of Austin Hill, Josh Berry, and Kaulig Racing.

Trevor Bayne soon recovered, and began challenging for the lead again. Unfortunately, with 10 to go Bayne pushed it a bit too hard and caused the “big one”, when he moved up in front of A.J. Allmendinger, got bumped, hit the outside wall and collected a big chunk of the field.

Several cars were involved in the wreck: Trevor Bayne, Justin Allgaier, Josh Berry, Noah Gragson, Tommy Joe Martins, Sage Karam, Jeb Burton, Alex Labbe, Sam Mayer, and Stefan Parsons.

Coming to the green with four to go, Myatt Snider’s car – on the inside line of the front row – started sparking heavily with a piece of the car dragging on the track. However, he did not pit, choosing to still race hard for the lead. In the first turn he went on to get dumped by Riley Herbst, and spun back up onto the track. Miraculously, despite this happening in front of the entire field, nobody made contact with the spinning car.

A green white checker attempt would follow with Austin Hill and Ryan Sieg on the front row. Further back in the pack however, a wreck occurred involving Tommy Joe Martins, Matt Mills, Stefan Parsons, and Jesse Iwuji. The wreck occurred when Jeffrey Earnhardt got pushed hard into the back of Matt Mills. That contact turned Mills up the track in front of the back dozen or so cars. The wreck prompted a long red flag before another GWC attempt that would see Sieg and Hill on the front row.

After pushing him to the front, Ty Gibbs dove to the inside of Sieg and took the lead on the final lap, bringing home the win with relative ease.

It was an attrition filled race that had several small teams put together good runs – Ryan Sieg was in position to win his first career race before the last lap pass, Mason Massey picked up his first career top-10, and Kyle Weatherman tied his career best finish in eighth. J.J. Yeley, Ryan Vargas, and Jeffrey Earnhardt all picked up top-15’s. In addition to those drivers, Tommy Joe Martins, Sage Karem, Bayley Currey, and Jade Buford were all putting together very good runs before late race wrecks or issues.

Final results:

1) Ty Gibbs
2) Austin Hill
3) A.J. Allmendinger
4) Riley Herbst
5) Landon Cassill
6) Mason Massey
7) Brandon Jones
8) Kyle Weatherman
9) Sheldon Creed
10) Ryan Sieg
11) J.J. Yeley
12) Ryan Vargas
13) Jeffrey Earnhardt
14) Brett Moffitt
15) Jeb Burton
16) Anthony Alfredo
17) Shane Lee
18) Brandon Brown
19) Alex Labbé
20) Tommy Joe Martins
21) Sam Mayer
22) Josh Williams
23) Joe Graf Jr.
24) Kyle Sieg
25) Stefan Parsons
26) Noah Gragson
27) Jesse Iwuji
28) Trevor Bayne
29) Bayley Currey
30) Myatt Snider
31) Matt Mills
32) Sage Karem
33) Josh Berry
34) Justin Allgaier
35) Daniel Hemric
36) Loris Hezemans
37) Jeremy Clements
38) Jade Buford

Picture Credit: Alpha Prime Racing Twitter

Published by Walker Skeeter

Walker is a 4th year climatology PhD candidate at the University of Delaware. Despite being a climate scientist, Walker has been a NASCAR fan for over 20 years! His favorite drivers are Bubba Wallace, Tyler Reddick, and Alex Bowman in cup, and AJ Allmendinger, Tommy Joe Martins, and Ryan Vargas in Xfinity. Outside of racing, he enjoys talking about (and studying) the weather, watching Baltimore sports, and playing video games.

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