Ty Gibbs wins NASCAR Xfinity Series championship in Phoenix finale


Ty Gibbs, who stirred controversy by crashing a teammate last week at Martinsville Speedway, brought the NASCAR Xfinity Series championship home to Joe Gibbs Racing by winning Saturday’s season finale at Phoenix Raceway.

Gibbs, 20, outran fellow championship contenders Noah Gragson, Justin Allgaier and Josh Berry — all JR Motorsports drivers — to claim the race win and series title. The victory was Gibbs’ seventh of the season. He led 125 of the 200 laps.

Gragson, who led 35 laps, chased Gibbs over the final eight laps and made gains but couldn’t close the gap at the finish.

The closing miles featured fierce racing for the win — and the championship — by Allgaier, Gibbs and Gragson. The lead swapped hands numerous times as each driver searched for the best lines through the one-mile track’s turns.

“I know what I did last week was unacceptable, and I apologize once again,” Gibbs said minutes after winning. “It was unacceptable because we could have had two shots to win this deal, and it was stupid from an organization standpoint. I will sit here and tell you I’m sorry as much as I can, but it is not going to fix it. I’ve got to fix my actions.

“I feel like today I had a good race. We made some good moves. Me and the 7 (Justin Allgaier) were racing really hard. Hopefully we put on a good show for you fans. Thank you for all of what you guys do.”

Gragson and Allgaier, who led 26 laps, followed Gibbs to the finish.

MORE: Phoenix Xfinity results

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A caution with 45 laps to go opened the door for pit stops for the championship drivers. Allgaier held the lead over Gibbs and Gragson at that point. Gibbs’ team won that challenge in the pits, returning him to the track in first place ahead of Allgaier, Berry and Gragson. Berry’s move into third place gave him his best spot of the race.

But Berry fell back with 30 laps to go, losing momentum and slapping the outside wall.

With 60 laps to go, the championship contenders filled the first four spots, with Gragson first, Allgaier second, Gibbs third and Berry fourth. Berry ran at the back of the top 10 for most of the first half of the race but rallied in the final stage.

A fast mid-race pit stop put Allgaier in front to start the last stage, but Gibbs needed only a couple of laps to pass him for the lead.

A few laps later, a multi-car crash produced the day’s fifth caution. The wreck started with contact between Sammy Smith and Sam Mayer.

Gibbs, the pole winner, led the race’s first 45 laps to win Stage 1 and also got a boost during a later round of pit stops when all three JR Motorsports teams had issues.

Gibbs received pressure at the front from Gragson, Allgaier and Smith in Stage 2 but also won it.

Gibbs wrecked Brandon Jones, his JGR teammate, on the last lap to win last Saturday’s race at Martinsville Speedway, denying Jones the victory and a spot in the Championship 4. Gibbs apologized numerous times, including after his championship win, for the Martinsville move, which produced heavy criticism for the young driver.

Stage 1 winner: Ty Gibbs

Stage 2 winner: Ty Gibbs

Who had a good race: Ty Gibbs managed to swim through what had been a tough week of criticism after his Martinsville move and won the race and the title. … Noah Gragson had Gibbs’ number for a portion of the race but couldn’t pull close near the end. … Justin Allgaier finished third but missed yet another shot at the championship.

Who had a bad race: Josh Berry managed to race near the front for a while but ultimately finished 13th after slapping the wall. … Dillon Bassett qualified well but finished last with an engine issue.

Next: The 2023 Xfinity Series schedule will open Feb. 18 with a 300-mile race at Daytona International Speedway.


Texas Truck race results: Carson Hocevar scores first series win

Texas Truck race results
Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Carson Hocevar was in front after the leaders crashed in overtime and scored his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway.

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Rookie Nick Sanchez, who led 168 of the 172-lap race, dueled reigning series champion Zane Smith on the last lap when Sanchez’s truck hit Smith’s. As Sanchez tried to regain control of his vehicle, he was hit from behind by Hocevar. That contact sent Sanchez into Smith. Christian Eckes also was collected.

Hocevar’s first win came in his 59th series start.

Chase Purdy placed second. Stewart Friesen finished third. Ty Majeski was fourth. Jake Garcia completed the top five.


Richmond Xfinity results, driver points


RICHMOND, Va. — Chandler Smith won a stage, led a race-high 83 laps and rallied late to score his first career Xfinity win Saturday at Richmond Raceway.

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John Hunter Nemechek placed second. The rest of the top five featured Josh Berry, Kaz Grala and Cole Custer. Austin Hill, who had won three of the first six races of the season, placed ninth.

Hill continues to lead the points. He has a 12-point advantage on Riley Herbst and an 18-point lead on Nemechek heading into the next series race in two weeks at Martinsville.

Chandler Smith scores first career Xfinity win with Richmond victory


RICHMOND, Va. — Chandler Smith held off John Hunter Nemechek to win his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series race Saturday at Richmond Raceway.

The 20-year-old Smith took the lead with 12 laps to go and withstood a restart with six laps to go to earn the victory for Kaulig Racing.

MORE: Richmond race results, driver points

His victory came about a month after being passed for the lead with two laps to go at Las Vegas and finishing third day.

“It obviously wasn’t in God’s works for me that and I was fine with that, I was good with that,” said Smith, who will make his Cup debut Sunday. “I knew there was something bigger and better that He was playing it out for me and I just had to be faithful and keep on trucking. Here’s proof of it.”

Nemechek was second. Josh Berry placed third and was followed by Kaz Grala and Cole Custer.

Justin Allgaier finished 13th to win the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus.

“Today was weird because of how we finished,” Allgaier said. “Given the same circumstances a year ago, two years ago, three years ago, 13th wasn’t going to win the Dash 4 Cash but today it did.”

Stage 1 winner: Chandler Smith

Stage 2 winner: Josh Berry

Who had a good race: A caution caught Justin Allgaier a lap down, ending his chances for a top-five finish but he was able to bounce back and win the Dash 4 Cash for a fifth time. … Derek Kraus finished 10th in his Xfinity debut. … Chris Hacker placed 14th in his Xfinity debut.

Who had a bad race: Riley Herbst had his career-long streak of top-10 finishes snapped after nine races. He placed 23rd after he was hit and spun late in the race.

Notable: This is the second time in the last four races that there has been a first-time series winner. Sammy Smith scored his first series win last month at Phoenix.

Next: The series is off until April 15 at Martinsville Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET on FS1).

Daniel Suarez, Ross Chastain move on from COTA incident


RICHMOND, Va. — Daniel Suarez says he’s been trying to “work on myself” after conflicts with teammate Ross Chastain and Alex Bowman last weekend at COTA but noted that if NASCAR doesn’t make adjustments with restarts on road courses, he’ll change his driving style.

NASCAR fined Suarez $50,000 on Wednesday for hitting another vehicle on pit road after the race. Suarez hit Chastain’s car at pit entrance and hit the back of Bowman’s car while they were both on pit road.

MORE: Cup starting lineup at Richmond 

“I’ve been trying to work on myself mostly during the week, trying to clear my mind and reset,” Suarez said Saturday at Richmond Raceway. “My team, we’re good. I think the issue wasn’t really with one driver. I feel like it’s more as an industry, how we are allowing to have those kind of bump-and-run restarts at the end of the races at road courses.

“I don’t think that’s right.”

Suarez restarted fifth in the second overtime restart. Alex Bowman, with Ross Chastain and Chase Briscoe aligned behind, charged and got beside Suarez as they approached Turn 1.

As Bowman slowed to make the tight turn, he was hit from behind and that sent him into Suarez, who clipped the left rear of Martin Truex Jr.’s car. Truex spun in front of Suarez and blocked his path, allowing the rest of the field to go by. Suarez finished 27th.

Chastain said he and Suarez have moved on from last week’s incident after talking this week.

“Every household on this earth has their moments of arguments and we had ours,” Chastain said Saturday.

“We’re family. We’re in the same house, right. It’s in our name. It’s Trackhouse. No matter what, we all think we have to put that behind and know that moving forward we’re brothers. … We’re brothers at Trackhouse and we’re going to be stronger together.”

Suarez is among the number of drivers who have raised concerns about the rough driving in the series. The Next Gen car is more durable and can take more hits — as evident in the Clash at the Coliseum to start the year when drivers barreled into the back of cars in the corners to slow down.

Add the emphasis of winning, less respect for one another and the result is the type of racing on display at the end of the race at Circuit of the Americas, as drivers charged down a long straightaway before braking hard for a tight turn and making contact with one another.

So, what can be done?

“I don’t have the answers to that,” Suarez said. “All I know is that NASCAR is working toward trying to make a better solution for some of these restarts. It doesn’t look right. This sport looks embarrassing.

“That’s not real. Just go into the corner and bump three cars to push people out of that way, that’s not real. We know that. That’s how some people got top fives and top 10s last week and some of the guys that were fast, like myself, finished 27th.

“If NASCAR does something about it, that’s amazing. If they don’t I’ll just join the party.”