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Everything That Happened in the Xfinity Race at Sonoma

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What’s Happening?

It’s “Wine Time” in Sonoma County for the NASCAR Xfinity Series! Coming off an incredible race in Portland last week, the Xfinity Series took on the twists and turns of Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., on the newly repaved surface. Shane Van Gisbergen won the first pole of his career after winning his first career race last weekend, continuing to show his prowess on road courses. Did anyone stop SVG, or did the three-time Supercars champion win back-to-back? Let’s take a look.

  • Sonoma had a slew of changes going into the weekend. First, the track was repaved, increasing speeds by over four seconds, even outpacing last year’s Cup pole time by such. Second, the tire barrier at turn 11 was replaced with a solid wall to keep drivers from breaking track limits.
  • SVG won the pole for the race and, minus a challenge from Ty Gibbs, dominated the opening stage wire-to-wire. The New Zealand native continued to impress in his first full-time Xfinity season, securing his first win, pole, and stage win in the span of a week. He reported something broke in the front end in the second stage but still finished second in the second stage and cruised to his second-straight win of the season.
  • Ty Gibbs took command in the second stage, leading wire-to-wire like SVG. He had the fastest car for the first two stage, but was caught up in a massive pileup at the beginning of Stage 3. Gibbs would retire from the race, but not before spinning in front of other cars from the pileup, causing damage to some race cars.

Pole-Sitter SVG Leads Stage 1 Wire-to-Wire

After winning last week at Portland, SVG took the green flag from the pole position and set the pace for the opening stage. Only Ty Gibbs stayed in striking distance of SVG, as the two pulled away by over 10 seconds from the rest of the field. Gibbs kept the pressure on the 97, staying within half a second of Shane for the entire stage, but could never get around him.

With the end of the stage approaching, Gibbs chose to pit to better position himself for the race win, while SVG stayed out to grab that crucial playoff point. With his biggest competition out the window, the Kaulig-97 cruised to the stage 1 win, leading wire-to-wire from the green flag to the green-and-white checkered flag.

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Stage 2 Problems for SVG?

After winning the opening stage and making a pit stop, SVG quickly found himself in the top-five early in the second stage. In his quest back to the front, he reported to his team that something broke in his front end. The dominant car in the first stage never fell outside the top-five however, as Shane continued to make moves to finish the stage in second. SVG reported the problem never got worse after he initially commented on it.

Ty Gibbs Wins Second Stage Wire-to-Wire

With his main competitor behind him and running into issues, Gibbs took command of the second stage after pitting at the end of the first stage. The 2021 Xfinity Series champion has always had a knack for road courses, and this race was no different. By the end of the stage, Gibbs had pulled away to an over-six-second lead. Just like SVG, Gibbs led wire-to-wire to win the second stage; however, the 97 finished second, setting up a duel between the stage winners.

Massive Pileup to Start Third Stage

The first caution for the incident occurred when the field was up the hill at the beginning of the third stage. A massive pileup collected multiple cars, including Gibbs, who lost 10 spots on pit road after the end of Stage 2. There was massive damage to the front of the 19-Supra, which took the fastest car out of contention for the win.

Over 10 cars were involved in the wreck, including Jesse Love, Chandler Smith, and Brandon Jones. Jones, Josh Williams, and Gibbs were out of the race while many continued. After dominating the second stage, the fastest car of the day would have to settle for a DNF. Gibbs spun around in front of the field in frustration, which caused additional damage to some cars and received criticism from the fans for his actions.

Problems for Jesse Love

The fourth caution of the race came when Sheldon Creed got loose in turn 10 and slid into the gravel. While Love received no additional damage and continued, this allowed Austin Hill to breathe for a few laps, as SVG was ready to pounce on the 21 for the race lead.

SVG Goes Back-to-Back With Sonoma Win

With Gibbs out of the equation, the race was SVG’s to lose. He just had to get by Austin Hill, and he’d cruise to his second straight win. As he closed in on the 21, the caution came out with 14 laps to go, keeping the 97 behind Hill for the time being.

On the restart, SVG kept pace with Hill and had the inside going up the hill. He took advantage and then some as he shunted the 21 out of the way to take the lead while sending Hill from first to fifth. The New Zealand native never looked back, as he set sail to back-to-back victories, taking the checkered flag at Sonoma Raceway.

The win marked the second of his career after scoring his first career win last week at Portland. SVG went from zero wins and being outside the playoffs to having two wins and 11 playoff points in the span of seven days. He continued to show his prowess on the road courses, and with so many left on the schedule, how many more can he claim?

In The Stands

Jonathan Fjeld gives his thoughts on the last race on FOX for the foreseeable future.

That indeed… was the biggest one.

Gibbs was criticized for doing doughnuts after he got involved in his race-ending wreck, running into other cars in his frustration. Many fans did not agree with Gibbs’ antics and Jarrett Grose is no exception.

Vanillawafers getting his TV time. And yes, it’s a big hat moment.

I think this is a appropriate use of the word “bulldozing.”

TCT gave his thoughts on SVG.

Conclusion

What did you make of the race, Daily Downforce readers? While the first two stages didn’t provide the action-packed racing one would expect, the third stage more than made up for it. What did you make of Gibbs’ antics in the aftermath of the pileup? How about SVG’s move to take the lead at the end? What do you think of the first race on the repaved Sonoma? Let us know all that and more by commenting on our social media platforms (Facebook, X, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, etc.).

We have one more race to go this weekend as the Cup guys gear up to take on Sonoma tomorrow. Be sure to tune back in here at DailyDownforce.com for our coverage of the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway!

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