Story By: REID SPENCER / NASCAR – HAMPTON, GA – With a brilliant move to the inside of leader Ryan Sieg on the final lap of a second overtime, Ty Gibbs seized control of Saturday’s Nalley Cars 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway and won by .178 seconds over runner-up Austin Hill.
Overcoming a mistake on pit road, where he overshot his stall, Gibbs rallied to run near the front as the race reached the end of regulation and moved into overtime.
In the second extra period, which pushed the event nine laps past its scheduled distance of 163 laps, Gibbs lined up in the outside lane behind Sieg, developed a huge run off Turn 4 and steered to the inside to take the top spot as the cars approached Turn 1 for the final time.
The last lap was the only one Gibbs would lead, but it propelled him to his second victory in five starts this season and his sixth in 23 NASCAR Xfinity Series races.
“What the heck? Oh, my gosh! I didn’t expect this at all,” said Gibbs, who at age 19 already is building a formidable legacy. “That’s one where I learned a big lesson-just never give up… Now I’m going to go party with the boys—let’s go!”
On a 1.54-mile track that raced like a superspeedway, in a race that produced an event-record-tying 10 cautions for 56 laps, Hill salvaged second place after surrendering the lead to Sieg on the first attempt at overtime.
“RCR (Richard Childress Racing) built a very fast race car,” said Hill, who won the season-opening race at Daytona. “They gave me everything I needed to win the race. I think the biggest difference was when we had that other restart, the 39 (Sieg) inched me out.
“The yellow came out. I think that was the biggest difference, because I think if we could have kept the lead there and controlled it, I think we had a fast enough car to get the job done. But hats off to the 54 guys. They did a good job today. He made the right moves at the right time, and we’ll have to go on to the next one. It stings, but we’ve got to hold our heads up.”
AJ Allmendinger ran third, followed by Riley Herbst and Landon Cassill. Mason Massey, Brandon Jones, Kyle Weatherman, Sheldon Creed and Sieg completed the top 10.
Two significant streaks came to an end in Saturday’s race. Noah Gragson was collected in a wreck on the backstretch on Lap 153, stopping a string of four straight top-three finishes to start the season. In the same wreck, Justin Allgaier nosed into the outside wall and fell out of the race in 34th place, ending a streak of 16 straight top-10 results.
Josh Berry stole the first stage from JR motorsports teammate Gragson, grabbing the top spot on the final lap. Working with a new pit crew, Gragson restarted 21st after a slow stop under the stage break caution and compounded the error by scraping the Turn 2 wall four laps later.
Gragson lost a lap in the pits under green but took a wave-around to regain the lead lap during the break after the second stage, won by AJ Allmendinger. Gragson got the caution he needed on Lap 106 when the Chevrolet of Jade Buford spun sideways and collected Jeremy Clements’ Chevy in the process.
But as he was gaining ground late in the race, Gragson fell victim to the multicar wreck on Lap 153, when Trevor Bayne, who led 38 laps, slid up in front of Allmendinger, who led a race-high 41.
NASCAR Xfinity Series Race – 31st Annual Nalley Cars 250
Atlanta Motor Speedway
Saturday, March 19, 2022
1. (4) Ty Gibbs, Toyota, 172.
2. (14) Austin Hill #, Chevrolet, 172.
3. (7) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 172.
4. (24) Riley Herbst, Ford, 172.
5. (10) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 172.
6. (26) Mason Massey, Chevrolet, 172.
7. (3) Brandon Jones, Toyota, 172.
8. (28) Kyle Weatherman, Chevrolet, 172.
9. (13) Sheldon Creed #, Chevrolet, 172.
10. (9) Ryan Sieg, Ford, 172.
11. (21) JJ Yeley, Ford, 172.
12. (32) Ryan Vargas, Chevrolet, 172.
13. (19) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Toyota, 172.
14. (16) Brett Moffitt, Chevrolet, 172.
15. (12) Jeb Burton, Chevrolet, 172.
16. (27) Anthony Alfredo, Chevrolet, 172.
17. (35) Shane Lee, Toyota, 172.
18. (11) Brandon Brown, Chevrolet, 172.
19. (17) Alex Labbe, Chevrolet, 172.
20. (37) Tommy Joe Martins, Chevrolet, 172.
21. (15) Sam Mayer, Chevrolet, 172.
22. (36) Josh Williams, Chevrolet, 172.
23. (23) Joe Graf Jr., Ford, 172.
24. (31) Kyle Sieg #, Ford, 172.
25. (25) Stefan Parsons, Chevrolet, 172.
26. (1) Noah Gragson, Chevrolet, 172.
27. (38) Jesse Iwuji #, Chevrolet, 172.
28. (5) Trevor Bayne, Toyota, 172.
29. (20) Bayley Currey, Chevrolet, 172.
30. (22) Myatt Snider, Chevrolet, 171.
31. (33) Matt Mills, Chevrolet, Accident, 165.
32. (29) Sage Karam, Chevrolet, Accident, 154.
33. (2) Josh Berry, Chevrolet, Accident, 153.
34. (6) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, Accident, 152.
35. (8) Daniel Hemric, Chevrolet, Accident, 113.
36. (34) Loris Hezemans(i), Toyota, Accident, 112.
37. (18) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, Accident, 106.
38. (30) Jade Buford, Chevrolet, Accident, 105.
Average Speed of Race Winner: 101.454 mph.
Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 36 Mins, 39 Secs. Margin of Victory: 0.178 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 10 for 56 laps.
Lead Changes: 11 among 10 drivers.
Lap Leaders: N. Gragson 1-25;B. Jones 26;N. Gragson 27-39;J. Berry 40-42;A. Allmendinger 43-83;S. Creed # 84-98;T. Bayne 99-100;M. Snider 101-102;T. Bayne 103-138;A. Hill # 139-165;R. Sieg 166-171;T. Gibbs 172.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): AJ Allmendinger 1 time for 41 laps; Trevor Bayne 2 times for 38 laps; Noah Gragson 2 times for 38 laps; Austin Hill # 1 time for 27 laps; Sheldon Creed # 1 time for 15 laps; Ryan Sieg 1 time for 6 laps; Josh Berry 1 time for 3 laps; Myatt Snider 1 time for 2 laps; Brandon Jones 1 time for 1 lap; Ty Gibbs 1 time for 1 lap.
Stage #1 Top Ten: 8,9,7,1,18,21,27,68,19,02
Stage #2 Top Ten: 16,11,48,45,44,2,68,21,27,10