Ty Gibbs fends off field to win Xfinity race at Watkins Glen

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WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Ty Gibbs outdueled Austin Cindric and AJ Allmendinger in separate battles for the lead in the last 12 laps to win Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Watkins Glen International.

The victory is Gibbs’ third in 10 starts this season. The victory also marked the eighth win in the last 10 races for the No. 54 car for Joe Gibbs Racing. Kyle Busch has five wins, Christopher Bell has one and Gibbs has two during that stretch. Gibbs led 43 of the 82 laps Saturday.

Allmendinger finished second. Cindric placed third. Justin Allgaier was fourth. Harrison Burton completed the top five.

MORE: Xfinity race results

The 18-year-old Gibbs lost the lead to Cindric with 12 laps to go off a restart but regained the top spot a lap later.

“I ran him wide in Turn 1 to take the lead,” Cindric said of Gibbs. “He ran me wide in Turn 6 to take the lead. It’s hard racing. He deserved to win.”

On a restart with four laps to go, Allmendinger passed Gibbs for the lead. Again, Gibbs rallied, passing Allmendinger for the lead one lap later.

“I did everything I could,” Allmendinger said. “Tried to fight him off, but he was just a little too good and so was that car. That’s all we can do. We can bust our ass and work hard and come back better the next time.”

Gibbs described his win to NBC Sports’ Dillon Welch: “Probably the most fun ever race with AJ and (Allgaier and Cindric). Those guys are very experienced veterans in this series. To be able to race them and beat them just means a lot.”

STAGE 1 WINNER: Austin Cindric

STAGE 2 WINNER: AJ Allmendinger

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Justin Allgaier’s fourth-place finish is his seventh consecutive top 10 at Watkins Glen. … Justin Haley placed ninth. He’s the only driver to finish in the top 10 in all five Xfinity races this season. … Michael Annett placed 11th. He had missed the past two races because of a stress fracture in his right femur that required surgery. … Josh Williams‘ 14th-place finish was his second-best result of the year. His best finish this year is 10th at Mid-Ohio.

NOTABLE: Ty Gibbs’ three wins this season have come at some of the most historic tracks in NASCAR and auto racing: Daytona (road course), Charlotte and Watkins Glen.

NEXT: The series races Aug. 14 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course (4 p.m. ET on NBCSN).