With just a handful of races remaining until the playoffs start, the tensions were high for Xfinity Series teams hoping to make their way in, as they prepared for the New Holland 250 at Michigan International Speedway. At the drop of the green flag, pole-sitter Noah Gragson and A.J. Allmendinger battled side by side for the position, with Justin Allgeier making it a three-man battle for the lead, but it was Gragson who had the advantage to take the lead on lap one. As the race continued, Gragson ran away with the lead, as Allmendinger battled with Brandon Jones for second place, Allgeier not far behind in third. Meanwhile, Kyle Weatherman, in a career-best start found himself battling a loose car as he and Josh Berry made brief contact just outside the top ten. The laps continued to wind down in the stage, as Allgeier managed to overtake second from Allmendinger, to go after teammate Gragson for the lead. With just three laps to go in the stage, Allgeier continued to gain on teammate Gragson, but his efforts were no match for the #9 JR Motorsports machine, which would take the stage win.
Stage two began with a battle for the lead between Gragson and Allmendinger, with A.J. having the advantage thanks to help from behind from Allgeier. The battle was not all said and done though, as Gragson aggressively charged forward in an attempt to reclaim the lead, making it three wide between him, Allgeier, and Allmendinger. Ultimately though, Allgeier would have the upper hand. The first caution of the day came out at lap 42 with Max McLaughlin and Matt Mills both simultaneously spinning and hitting the wall. At the restart, Justin Allgeier side drafted, Ty Gibbs to check out with the lead, with youngster Sammy Smith trailing behind in second. On lap 49 Sammy Smith began to gain on Allgeier, but would not be able to take the lead away.
With 8 to go in the stage, the yellow flag waved as David Starr went for a spin. The leaders, in a strategy attempt, came to pit road, with three to go in the stage. Upon the restart, A.J. Allmendinger battled with teammate Landon Cassill for the lead, they made brief contact but A.J. was able to clean up and take over the lead, but Gragson was not far behind in second. Gragson and Allmendinger drag raced to the line, with Gragson taking yet another stage win, by being just a nose length ahead of Allmendinger. On pit road, Gragson unsurprisingly would win the race off, while teammate Josh Berry would be sent to the rear of the field for speeding.
The final stage was underway, with yet another tight battle for the lead between Ty Gibbs and Sammy Smith, with Gibbs holding the lead over Smith thanks to a healthy shove from behind delivered by Austin Hill. As the stage continued on, Gibbs began to run away with the lead, as Hill and Allgeier battled for second, with Smith and Mayer battling behind them, resulting in contact and a tire rub on Mayer’s left front, forcing him to come to pit road. With just over 40 laps to go, leader Ty Gibbs was filled with concern as his car began to overheat due to debris on his grill, but he was luckily able to get it off before it could be detrimental to his race performance. With 26 laps to go, leader Ty Gibbs had to deal with yet another close call, after a near spin brought on by contact with Josh Berry.
With 25 laps to go drivers began to make green flag pit stops, with Jones and Allgeier coming down, Gibbs coming down a lap later. After a career-defining day for young Sammy Smith, he would have to go to the rear after speeding on pit road. Ty Gibbs after a few near mishaps found himself cycled back into the lead after green flag pit stops, with just under 10 laps to go. As the race wound down to just 5 laps to go, drivers Allgeier and Gragson, hungrily drove to try and have a shot at the race win, it was to no avail, as no one had anything for the most winningest driver this season Ty Gibbs, as he collected his 5th win this season, this time at Michigan International Speedway.
Featured image credits to Patrick Vallely, @Puffadda on Twitter.