Ty Gibbs wins Phoenix race, Xfinity championship cleanly

Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

“The 25-percent won,” Ty Gibbs proclaimed on the frontstretch of Phoenix Raceway Saturday evening, having captured the 2022 Xfinity Driver title by scoring his 11th victory of the season.

In doing so, the 20-year-old cemented the Owner Championship for Joe Gibbs Racing, the organization’s sixth, putting them even with Penske Racing for most all-time in the series. Gibbs’ Driver Championship is JGR’s fourth since its inception in 1997.

Despite having three of the four teams in the Championship Four, JR Motorsports was denied both a fourth Driver and Owner Championship, but his teams’ combined successes helped Chevrolet take home the Manufacturer title.

Perhaps mindful of the backlash he suffered over the last week from dumping Brandon Jones to win at Martinsville, Gibbs cleanly passed JR Motorsports contender Justin Allgaier on Lap 189 and held off the determined charge of Noah Gragson to take the checkers by .397 seconds. Josh Berry, the fourth contender, got loose and scraped the wall late in Stage Three and finished 13th.

“I’m just proud of the effort that these guys put in all year.” Berry stated. “It’s been tough, but to make it to the Championship 4 is a big deal. We just got beat.”

Gibbs said he felt like he and the JRM guys raced hard but clean. “There's definitely times where all of us could have taken advantage of each other, but we didn't, and we raced really good. Hopefully that puts -- I earned some respect back, and hopefully the fans enjoyed it.”

Photo by Debbie Ross/Skirts and Scuffs 

Gragson, in his post-race comments, said much the same thing about the race.

“I think we all raced with a ton of respect, and we all four raced as champions, in my mind. We raced each other really, really hard, and sometimes doored each other, coming off the tri-oval or through the dogleg or entering the corner, but we raced hard.

“For me personally, that's all you can ask for is to race each other as hard as you can. But nobody -- we're all still racing our tails off. Even last night in the truck race, it was an unbelievable finish, and I think we all four raced as champions tonight. It was really cool.”

Photo by Debbie Ross/Skirts and Scuffs


Allgaier went a bit further.

“Oddly enough, the best car or truck has won both races. Zane won both stages, won the race. Ty won both stages, won the race. Both got the pole. I don't know if that's any omen for tomorrow, but if it is, you might want to go put some money on Joey for the Cup race,” he stated.

“But what's funny about that is is that when people look back at the box score at the end of the race, they're going to see who won, who got the pole, would won the stages, and it's going to be like oh, man, these two dominated these races, but it wasn't that way. It was wheel to wheel, battling it out…And all four of us battled. And like Noah said, we all gave it everything we had, and then some.”

To Allgaier’s point, Gibbs led 125 of 200 laps and swept both stages, but his victory was never a given. Allgaier led 35 laps and Gragson 25; there were 15 lead changes among five drivers, yet the race felt closer than those numbers show. Landon Cassill kept the No. 10 car in the top 10 throughout, finishing fourth. AJ Allmendinger lurked in the top 10 all race as well, making a run for it at the end but ending up fifth, his 17th top-five of the 33-race season.

Allgaier also summed up the drama around Gibbs.

“You've also got to think like he's super young, he's lived a different lifestyle than Noah and I have, and he's making decisions based on what he thinks is best. Is that decision always best? Probably not.

But we've all been there, we've done that. He did a great job tonight. He ran the best race, and they had the best car. You can't knock them for that.

I'm disappointed. Again, I'm disappointed we couldn't beat him, but I mean, I don't -- everybody talked all this week like oh, such-and-such is going to wreck the 54 this week. I knew nobody was going to do that. It was a matter of us coming in here and trying to race it out and go for broke, and we did.”

Ty Gibbs wins Phoenix race, Xfinity championship cleanly Ty Gibbs wins Phoenix race, Xfinity championship cleanly Reviewed by Janine Cloud on Sunday, November 06, 2022 Rating: 5