Ty Gibbs holds off Gragson to win Xfinity Series finale at Phoenix


 AVONDALE, Ariz. – One week after igniting a maelstrom of controversy with his brutish tactics at Martinsville Speedway, Ty Gibbs held off charging Noah Gragson to win Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship Race and the series title that goes with it.

Starting from the pole at Phoenix Raceway, Gibbs won the first and second stages and led a race-high 125 of 200 laps, but those statistics belie how intensely competitive the race was.

Gragson and JR Motorsports teammate Justin Allgaier led 35 and 26 laps, respectively, and traded the lead with Gibbs as the sun went down and the track cooled. But Gibbs’s No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota was strong enough to win the day, giving the 20-year-old prodigy his seventh victory of the season and his 11th in 51 career starts.

Gragson closed within two car lengths through Turns 3 and 4 with two laps left but couldn’t get to Gibbs’ bumper. He crossed the finish line 0.397 seconds behind Gibbs.

“I gave it my best,” Gragson said. “I drove my ass off and gave it everything I had. Just got beat …

“He (Gibbs) raced like a champion tonight. He deserved it.”

Allgaier rolled home in third place. Kaulig Racing teammates Landon Cassill and AJ Allmendinger were fourth and fifth, respectively. Sheldon Creed, Riley Herbst, Daniel Hemric, Austin Hill and Sammy Smith completed the top 10.

Championship 4 competitor Josh Berry was running in the top four in the late going but contact with the backstretch wall shortly after the final restart on Lap 171 dropped him to 13th at the finish.

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