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Davidson: Upset Xfinity win by the new boy Ty Gibbs

Daytona Beach, FL, Feb 20/21 (by John Davidson): The predicted race-long battle between reigning series champion Austin Cindric and AJ Allmendinger came to an end approaching the first Stage end as 'Dinger tried to block Cindric and the 22-year-old refused to back out of the throttle, sending Allmendinger into a spin and Cindric taking the Stage points.

Cindric was trying to double-up after winning last week’s season-opening race and give team owner Roger Penske an 84th birthday present with another win.

Cindric recovered from the first Stage c rash and dominated the race, leading 29 of the race’s 56 laps, but at the finish it was Ty Gibbs, grandson of NFL Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs winning the race on a double-overtime finish in his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series start. Gibbs became the first driver to win the series in his first attempt with no other NASCAR starts. Five other drivers have won on their first series start: Joe Ruttman, Ricky Rudd, Dale Earnhardt Sr, Terry Labonte and Kurt Busch, but they all had been racing in Cup Series races before 'dropping back' to the lower series. On the way to the win, Gibbs set the fastest lap time of the race, running a lap of 1:58.106/110.037 mph on the last lap.

"You know, I can't thank everybody right now," said the young Gibbs. "This is like a dream come true to me. This is awesome, I can't do burnouts, that's one thing I cannot do at all. I just can't thank everybody, this is just a dream come true to me. I really didn't think I had it there. I don't even know what's going on."

"I'm sorry I'm a wreck I didn't think this was going to happen at all. This is awesome, I can't thank everybody enough watching and last week I had a terrible interview. I want to apologize for everybody, I just can't thank everybody enough. This is just amazing."

Following the race, Cindric commented about the first Stage finish and his late race with Gibbs: "Obviously, I don't want to be racing to a Stage probably that aggressive. I'd love to see a replay. Just hopefully we can avoid something like that because AJ and I were gonna be fighting for a win later today, so I hate to be able to do that much damage to our PPG Ford Mustang that early. It just seemed like he was trying to block, whether if he didn't know I was there or not. It sucks. It's over with, but we salvaged a great day out of it. Congratulations to Ty. That's obviously really cool. Congrats to him and his family. P.2, I'll take it.

"Yeah, it's obviously a great start to the season big picture-wise. I wish we would have been able to do a little bit more tonight. If that caution hadn't come out, but it's the what-ifs of racing. Those restarts were crazy. I hope everyone else enjoyed it because that was stressful and that was challenging, but, overall, it's a great way to start the year. I wish we would have been able to get our PPG Ford Mustang in victory lane, but it was not in the cards on those restarts."

Cindric added this comment about the early contact with Allmendinger: "I think he and I should talk about it to understand. Obviously, we had two really great cars capable of winning the race and definitely damaged mine and I never saw him the rest of the afternoon, so I'm sure it obviously affected his chances at winning the race. It's frustrating, but I think we can both learn from it and try not to do that again. He's a grown-up. He's been around. I'm sure we can talk it out and figure out how to do better moving forward.

"I'm fairly certain I know what happened and whether if it's a difference of opinion or a miscommunication over the spotter radio, I mean, I could probably be equally frustrated or even more frustrated with AJ, so I don't think that's the right approach to take. Like I said earlier, I think we both just need to sit down and talk about it and understand that we both hurt our chances of winning today because of it and move forward and be better."

Daniel Hemric brought his Toyota home in third place: "You don't want to be on the top – I know that. I was the fortunate guy. I stared 13th in the first green-white-checkered. We were in fourth or fifth coming off of turn two. I thought we were going to line-up in fifth on the last one, and something happened with the lineup and we got shuffled to sixth before we got to the green. It was very late notice. You have two rows of old tires in front of us. The guys in front of you spin the tires. I ducked right, and put myself into three-wide coming into turn one."

• Click HERE for the race results


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