Ty Gibbs pulls upset in Kansas, leaving NASCAR Xfinity championship race wide open

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Ty Gibbs upset the field again, racing to his fourth NASCAR Xfinity Series victory of the season Saturday and stopping title contenders AJ Allmendinger and Austin Cindric from advancing to the championship round.

Gibbs, 19, passed reigning champion Cindric with 10 laps remaining at Kansas Speedway and cruised to yet another victory in his part-time Joe Gibbs Racing ride. He needed only to start the ARCA Series race later Saturday to clinch that championship.

The grandson of the Hall of Fame team owner, Gibbs will be full time in the Xfinity Series next season, but for now, he's a roadblock for the championship contenders.

Cindric finished second, and Allmendinger was third. A playoff driver has yet to win in this round of the playoffs, so all four spots in the championship finale are wide open next weekend at Martinsville Speedway.

A non-playoff driver again was a factor in the finish of playoff drivers. This time it was Sam Mayer, who triggered a crash that ruined the race for title contenders Harrison Burton and Noah Gragson. Mayer and Gragson are teammates at JR Motorsports, and Gragson entered Kansas two points above the cutline.

Mayer, who is not racing for the championship, was on the bottom of the track and clipped Burton as Burton was driving through the center. It sent Burton spinning into Gragson, ending the race for both drivers.

Both must win at Martinsville to advance.

"I thought Harrison was doing a great job. We're racing for a championship -- Harrison didn't do anything wrong," Gragson said. He watched teammate Mayer race live on a monitor and said, "There he goes again," as Mayer was tightly racing.

"A bummer, but we're really good at Martinsville. I'll get the situation from today handled," he said, intimating he'll have a conversation with Mayer.

Justin Haley, Gragson, Brandon Jones and Burton all go to Martinsville below the cutline.