Ty Gibbs, at just 18-years old, won the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at the Daytona road course in his first career Xfinity start. He became the sixth driver to win his Xfinity debut and the first since Kurt Busch in 2006. He joins the likes of Dale Earnhardt, Joe Ruttman, Terry Labonte and Ricky Rudd in that category.
Road course racing at Daytona was bonkers for a second-straight day as stage one almost equaled the calamity the final stage of the Camping World Truck Series possessed just under 24 hours ago.
Xfinity debutant Natalie Decker’s day came to an abrupt and early end as she was involved in a lap three incident going into the frontstretch chicane. Her car then leaked oil onto the track, which brought out a caution and sent her to the garage.
Ryan Vargas, whose JD Motorsports car was sponsored by New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara and his juice bar chain, suffered a mechanical issue on lap 10 and he went behind the wall.
The race trended to be a great battle between road course warriors in Austin Cindric and A.J. Allmendinger. However, as the two raced for the stage one win, Allmendinger attempted to block Cindric to hold on to the win, but Cindric ran out of room and turned Allmendinger, causing the front of his car to get totaled in the grass. Cindric suffered heavy damage to his right front, while Riley Herbst destroyed his car as he tried to avoid Allmendinger coming back down the track.
Cindric took the stage, but his car was in a lot of trouble.
With Cindric and Allmendinger compromised and toward the back of the field, the race became wide open for a handful of drivers to score their first road-course win and lock their way into the playoffs.
However, Ty Gibbs, in his first Xfinity Series start, led the final 11 laps of stage two to earn the stage win in his debut after passing Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Harrison Burton.
Even with a right-front tire sticking out in the open, Cindric was one of the fastest cars on the track and worked his way into the top 10 to come home sixth in the stage.
The final stage was a battle between Cindric and Gibbs as they ran 1-2. The road-course veteran controlled the pace, but Gibbs never gave up as he remained within a second of Cindric.
Gibbs tried multiple times to get around Cindric, but the two made contact in turn five and the gap separated to a full second.
However, the caution came out with three to go as debris from a flat tire was left on the backstretch.
Gibbs and Cindric came down to pit road to get four tires and fuel while Ryan Sieg and Myatt Snider came out.
On the restart, Gibbs and Cindric drove deep into the long first turn and gained numerous positions as some drivers played it more timid on older tires. Sieg led, but overdrove the turn by a wide margin, which catalyzed an absolute mess in turn three that saw a handful of drivers spin into the grass, including Snider, Stephen Leicht, Josh Williams and Gray Gaulding. This forced a second OT with Gibbs and Cindric inside the top 5.
At the start of the second overtime, Gibbs drove hard into the first turn and even plowed through some grass, but the splitter remained intact. From there, he got around leader Jeb Burton with ease and ran away from the rest of the field to take the win in his first career Xfinity start.
Cindric came home in second while Daniel Hemric rounded out the podium.
Brandon Jones and Jeb Burton completed the top five. Harrison Burton finished sixth, while Miguel Paludo, Brandon Brown, Justin Haley and Jeremy Clements rounded out the top 10 in that order.
For Paludo, this is his first top-10 finish in the Xfinity Series and his first NASCAR top 10 since Nov. 1, 2013 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Clements scored his 25th career top-10 finish in the Xfinity Series.
Landon Cassill earned his best finish in the Xfinity Series since Aug. 16, 2019 at Bristol Motor Speedway. He came home 12th Saturday.
The Xfinity Series will head down south to Miami for a date at the Homestead-Miami Speedway next Saturday.
Unofficial Race Results: