Ty Gibbs recovers from early spat to win in Las Vegas

Published 11:12 pm Saturday, March 5, 2022

By JENNA FRYER

AP Auto Racing Writer

LAS VEGAS  — Ty Gibbs recovered from a nasty first-stage spat and a failed attempt at retaliation to win the Xfinity Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Gibbs took the lead for the first time Saturday on a restart with six laps remaining in another sloppy showing for NASCAR’s second-tier series. Gibbs got a push ahead of Las Vegas native Noah Gragson and then pulled away in clean air.

His Toyota had a comfortable lead when the 12th caution froze the field and gave Gibbs, the grandson of team owner Joe Gibbs, his first win of the year.

Gibbs climbed from his car and immediately issued an apology to Ryan Sieg, who had feuded with Gibbs throughout the first stage.

Gibbs had made contact with Sieg to trigger the feud that only ended when Sieg wrecked himself trying to retaliate against Gibbs. The two had already spoken about the initial contact — the race was briefly stopped, for snow flurries, in the desert! — and Sieg said the issue wasn’t over. Sieg acknowledged that Gibbs is driving the best car in NASCAR’s second-tier series, and said the 19-year-old needed to be taught a lesson.

But when Sieg attempted to run Gibbs up the track when the race resumed, he lost control of his own car and destroyed it in his own crash.

“Wow, that was just really smart there,” Gibbs said over his radio as Sieg limped his car into the garage.

After collecting the checkered flag, Gibbs was no longer poking his rival.

“I want to apologize to (Sieg) for the silly contact I made,” Gibbs said. “It wasn’t my best decision and I am sorry to that whole group, Ryan’s family, they work so hard, so I want to apologize to them.”

Gragson finished second for a second consecutive week. He’s not finished lower than third through three races and had a comfortable lead on his home track until a crash with 12 laps remaining exposed him to another restart.

Gibbs thanked Justin Allgaier — Gragson’s teammate at JR Motorsports — for a push on the restart that got him the lead. Gragson, who led five times for 52 laps, seemed shocked.

“Just kind of got beat at our own game there,” Gragson said. “Restarts, just, you know came up short.”

Daniel Hemric finished third for Kaulig Racing and Chevrolet drivers took eight of the top-10 spots.

The race ran just three minutes short of three hours, not including the stoppage for snow. Last week’s race at California ran 3:05:05 and had a race-record 12 cautions.

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