It seems like rain has been a factor in just about every NASCAR race lately, and yesterday’s Xfinity Series race at Kansas Speedway was no different. After completing just two stages, another driver entered the conversation as a championship favorite.
It was all Ty Gibbs in the weekend’s only practice session as the driver of the 54 put .2 seconds on the second place driver, Noah Gragson in the 9. Behind them, the 18 of Sammy Smith, 11 of Daniel Hemric, and 2 of Sheldon Creed rounded out the top-five.
The Gibbs crew’s success continued into qualifying with the 19 of Brandon Jones taking pole position. Behind him, teammate Ty Gibbs would join him on the front row in second place. Rounding out the top-five in qualifying was the 2 of Creed, 16 of AJ Allmendinger, and 9 of Gragson.
Due to weather in the area, the start of the race was moved up about 20 minutes. At 2 p.m., the green flag was flown and the race began. 10 drivers were sent to the rear for the start of the race including the 6 of Ryan Vargas for a backup car, 34 of Jesse Iwuji for a driver change, and eight others for unapproved adjustments.
On lap 5, Ty Gibbs caught his teammate in the 19, passing him for the lead. By lap 14, Gibbs had caught the rear of the field and began putting cars a lap down. The field was able to keep the entire stage clean, giving Gibbs an easy stage one victory.
With all of the leaders pitting, Gibbs won the race off pit road and restarted on the front row alongside the 9 of Gragson. On lap 70, the 51 of Jeremy Clements spun attempting to enter pit road and slowed on the track with a flat left rear.
All but three drivers pitted at the caution, meaning the 21 of Austin Hill and 07 of Brett Moffitt made up the front row for the restart. However, it didn’t even take a full lap for Gragson, on fresh tires, to take the lead.
On lap 82, the caution was flown for rain in the area. At the break, those who had stayed out before came down for fresh tires. After six laps of caution, the race restarted with two laps to go in the stage. It was Gragson and the 7 of Justin Allgaier on the front row in a shootout to the finish of the stage – and maybe the race.
Gragson held on to claim the stage victory, and the red flag was brought out shortly thereafter for the increasing rain. The race was never restarted, and Gragson was given the victory as the race was official after stage two. That marked his fifth victory of the year.
The Xfinity Series will take on Bristol Motor Speedway at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, September 16th.
Featured photo from @NASCAR_Xfinity on Twitter.