Ty Gibbs picked up his fifth win of the NASCAR Xfinity Series season on Saturday at Michigan International Speedway.
Pole babysitter Noah Gragson swept through both stages and seemed to dominate the car. But after he pulled into the pit lane during a break in stage two, Gibbs pulled ahead and took control of the race.
He maintained the lead thanks to green flag pit stops with about 25 laps to go and took a 1.2-second victory over Justin Algayer.
MORE: Michigan NASCAR Xfinity Series Race Results
When Gibbs was asked if Saturday’s victory was a resounding win ahead of the playoffs, Gibbs told NBC Sports that “it depends on how you look at it.”
“I just race, week after week,” Gibbs said. “But (there are) people who get excited and think they make a big statement and then go into the playoffs and screw up.
“I just do what I can, week after week.”
Look ma, no hands!
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) August 6, 2022
Gragson finished third after the decision to stay out near the end of Stage 2 came at a cost.
During the warning on lap 52, he and his No. 9 JR Motorsports team did not enter the pit stop and instead decided to go for a stage win and a playoff point. Gibbs, on the other hand, preferred pit stops with that caveat in mind.
Gragson was able to trace and transmit AJ Allmendinger on the last lap to win stage 2. But then Gragson pulled into the pit lane during the break in stage 2. He climbed back into the top five but never saw the lead again.
“I felt like we had a good enough car to get back there – we just had problems in the short run,” Gragson told NBC Sports. “… We won the first stage, and at the restarts of the second stage, we sort of rolled back and decided to stay on the sidelines.
“We ended up winning the second stage, but once it was all over and we were in the pit lane after the stage, these guys started in front on the tires they took… Damn you if you do, damn you, if you don’t. We had two points in the playoffs but I felt we were good enough to win.”
Stage 1 winner: Noah Gragson
Stage 2 winner: Noah Gragson
Who had a good race: Josh Berry recovered from both an early wall crash and a mid-race speeding ticket on pit road to finish sixth… A.J. Allmendinger suffered a cooling jacket problem for the second weekend in a row, but was able to endure and finish seventh.
Who had a bad race: Lost the engine in the morning practice Matt Mills dropped out of the race on lap 40. Mills hit the brakes CJ McLaughlindebris ahead of him on turn 2, but then lost control and crashed into a wall on turn 2 himself.
Next: Watkins Glen International – Saturday, August 20 at 3:00 PM ET US Network