Small NASCAR Teams Make Huge Moves at Atlanta Motor Speedway

Kyle Weatherman

Getty Kyle Weatherman (bottom) posted his first top-10 of the season.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway came to an end in double overtime as Ty Gibbs won his second race of the year. He became the first repeat winner of 2022 while multiple small teams made major moves.

The Nalley Cars 250 featured a record-tying number of cautions and a run time of nearly three hours due to collisions with the wall, wrecks, flat tires, and other issues. These incidents sent such drivers as Josh Berry, Daniel Hemric, Justin Allgaier, Jade Buford, Jeremy Clements, and Sage Karam to the garage early while others dropped to the middle of the pack after receiving repairs.

Meanwhile, DGM Racing, RSS Racing, JD Motorsports with Gary Keller, and Sam Hunt Racing all finished inside of the top-15 in strong performances. Mason Massey headlines the list as he posted a career-best sixth-place finish in the No. 91 Anderson Power Services Chevrolet Camaro, his first top-10 finish in the Xfinity Series. His teammate, Kyle Weatherman, finished eighth overall in the No. 92 Chevrolet.

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Ryan Vargas, the driver of the No. 6 entry for JD Motorsports, turned in a strong performance as he avoided multiple incidents en route to a 12th-place finish. This includes a near-miss when Matt Mills nearly hit him from behind while spinning into the outside wall.

Jeffrey Earnhardt battled through numerous issues while making Sam Hunt Racing‘s 50th start. He began the day at the rear of the field due to unapproved adjustments, had to stop for repairs at multiple points, and dropped a lap behind the field. However, he continued making moves during the final stage and raced his way to a 13th-place finish in the No. 26.

A Near-Miss for Ryan Sieg

Sieg, the driver of the No. 39 Ford Mustang, experienced a range of emotions during the second overtime. He started on the front row and jumped to the front of the pack as he took the white flag. It appeared that he would win his first career race, but the situation drastically changed.

Gibbs, the reigning Rookie of the Year, received a huge push from AJ Allmendinger. He was able to race up to Sieg’s bumper and then drop to the bottom lane to take the lead. Gibbs’ run was so strong that he put a massive amount of distance between himself and the rest of the drivers that went three-wide.

While Gibbs raced his way to his second career win, Sieg began to drop. He was caught in the middle of Austin Hill and AJ Allmendinger, and he had no one helping push him from behind. This lack of help dropped the No. 39 all the way to the 10th position. He still posted his third top-10 finish after leading a total of six laps, but he was not able to secure his first win of the year.

Wrecks Derailed Impressive Performances

While multiple small teams littered the top 15, there were two that saw strong performances come to an early end. Both Brandonbilt Motorsports and Alpha Prime Racing showcased speed and racked up stage points before crashes derailed their afternoons.

The No. 68 of Brandon Brown ran well throughout the afternoon. He finished eighth in Stage 1 and seventh in Stage 2 before running around the top five during the final stage. Brown was in a position to fight for the win, but a spin sent him down onto the apron. He also sustained damage after hitting the rear of Josh Berry’s No. 8.

Brown was able to work his way up to 18th overall before the end of the race, and he ended the day with 26 points overall. However, he missed out on an opportunity to punch his ticket to the playoffs.

Similarly, the two cars of Alpha Prime Racing had a very strong second stage. Tommy Joe Martins in the No. 45 finished fourth in Stage 2 while Sage Karam in the No. 44 took fifth. Both drivers racked up crucial points that will help them during future qualifying sessions.

Unfortunately for Martins, both of his cars were caught up in incidents. Karam finished 32nd after being involved in a massive wreck with 11 to go. Though his stage points equaled more of a 26th-place day. Martins was able to continue in the race, but he finished 20th after other incidents sent him spinning.

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