Richmond, Va. — On Saturday, Ty Gibbs did exactly what he knows best: winning. Leading 114 laps, Gibbs moved teammate John Hunter Nemechek in the final corner to win the Toyota Owners 250 at Richmond Raceway.
“I’m very thankful and blessed. The man above me has blessed me so much,” Gibbs said. “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him.”
Gibbs ran fastest in practice and won the pole with Nemechek to his outside. He led the first 11 laps of the race before Nemechek jumped ahead. Nemechek and Gibbs combined to lead all but one of the 250 laps in the race.
After winning the first stage, Nemechek remained ahead until seven to go in stage 2 when Gibbs passed him back to win the stage. Gibbs took a 0.5-second lead with 33 laps to go, but Nemechek closed the gap after heavy lapped traffic and took a brief lead.
“I feel like that’s why he got back to me,” Gibbs said. “It’s just hard with them being on the outside of you really closely, up off the corner, you lose a lot of right side grip. So, that’s the part where you’ve just got to fight and get through there as fast as you can.”
Lapped traffic continued and Nemechek stayed within reach of Gibbs. With four laps to go, Nemechek took a minuscule lead over Gibbs and saw the white flag wave while ahead.
Gibbs hit Nemechek with his bumper and the two drove side-by-side down the backstretch. In Turn 3, Gibbs seemingly drove up the track to move Nemechek out of the way for the victory.
“These wins are hard to come by. So, you just got to take every advantage,” Gibbs said. “I doored him and I got in there hard. That was the point. I was tight but there’s no excuse for me hitting him. And I hit him and knocked him up the track.”
But, that’s not how Nemechek saw it. A full-time racer in the Camping World Truck Series, Nemechek is in Xfinity for one reason only: wins.
“He just didn’t even try to make the corner,” Nemechek said. “I guess I should know that when the last lap is out, teammate rules are off. I thought it would’ve been awesome to duel it out side-by-side coming to the checkered flag.”
Toyota finished 1-2 while Sam Mayer, Saturday’s Dash 4 Cash winner, finished third. AJ Allmendinger finished fourth and Riley Herbst led Ford with a fifth-place finish.
“I feel we were pretty consistent with [the Toyotas],” Herbst said. “It doesn’t help when you qualify 24th or 25th or wherever we did. I feel like if I can clean up my qualifying and start up front, we can run up front and win races.”
Josh Berry was the only other driver to lead a lap.
Stage 1: John Hunter Nemechek, Ty Gibbs, Josh Berry, AJ Allmendinger, Ty Gibbs, Ryan Sieg, Parker Retzlaff, Brandon Jones, Austin Hill, Sam Mayer
Stage 2: Ty Gibbs, John Hunter Nemechek, Josh Berry, Ryan Sieg, AJ Allmendinger, Anthony Alfredo, Sam Mayer, Justin Allgaier, Riley Herbst, Parker Retzlaff
Final: Ty Gibbs, John Hunter Nemechek, Sam Mayer, AJ Allmendinger, Riley Herbst, Daniel Hemric, Josh Berry, Brandon Brown, Ryan Sieg, Parker Retzlaff
- Noah Gragson experienced brake problems in Stage 1. He finished 21st.
- Jeb Burton finished 11th after hitting the wall in qualifying and starting from the rear.
- Sheldon Creed, the 2020 Truck Series champion, finished 22nd.
- Rajah Caruth finished 24th in his first series start
- Derek Griffith finished 26th in his first series start
- Allmendinger is the new points leader. Gragson fell to a tie for second with Gibbs.
The series travels to Martinsville Speedway on Friday, April 8 for the Call 811 Before You Dig 250 Powered by Call811.com at 7:30 p.m. ET. FS1 will televise the race.