18-year-old NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Ty Gibbs raced to Victory Lane at Watkins Glen International for the first time in his career on Aug. 7, holding off Team Penske’s Austin Cindric and Kaulig Racing’s AJ Allmendinger in the process. Following the race, Gibbs raved about his battle with the “baddest dudes” on road courses.
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver appeared to be at a loss for words during his post-race interview, rambling for a few moments before stopping himself. He explained how his team put in considerable work to make the car impressive but also talked about the sheer talent level of his opponents and their history of success away from oval tracks.
“Those two — the 22 and AJ — the baddest dudes on the road course ever,” Gibbs told NBC Sports. “I don’t even know how I… my guys worked so hard and did such a good job. We just had a super, really good… just a great race. I’m at a loss of words right now.”
Cindric and Allmendinger may be extremely adept at road courses, but Gibbs turned in an impressive performance during his first Xfinity Series race at Watkins Glen. He led 43 of the 82 laps in the No. 54 Toyota Supra and recovered after losing his lead on the final restart.
Allmendinger & Cindric Have a History of Success at Road Courses
To the young driver’s point, the two NASCAR veterans have both achieved considerable success at the various road courses on the circuit. Allmendinger, in particular, has won twice at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and the Charlotte Roval in his Xfinity Series career. He also has another trip to Victory Lane at Road America.
As a Cup Series driver, Allmendinger only has one win in 374 starts. However, this lone victory took place at Watkins Glen International in 2014. Allmendinger suited up for JTG Daugherty Racing and led 29 of the 90 laps during the Cheez-It 355 at the Glen, holding off Marcus Ambrose for the win.
Cindric, on the other hand, has fewer starts than Allmendinger, but he has considerable success at road courses. The Team Penske driver has locked up wins at Road America, the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, the Daytona Road Course, and Watkins Glen during his Xfinity Series career. This list includes the last race at Watkins Glen in 2019 when he held off Christopher Bell and Justin Allgaier to take the checkered flag.
Gibbs Earned Some Respect From His Fellow Drivers
While the JGR driver was the first to heap praise upon his fellow drivers, he was not the only one to do so. Allmendinger also made some comments about Gibbs during his own post-race interview, detailing how the youngster was able to lock up the win.
“I needed him to lose about three more spots,” Allmendinger said about his move to take the lead on the final restart. “… He was carrying all the speed, so I just throttled up and cleared him on the outside. But I knew how good he was, especially on the carousel and through the last couple of corners. That car had a lot of rear grip, and he used it. Congratulations. I mean, fantastic job.”
Allmendinger made glowing comments about Gibbs after the race, but he also showed his respect with his actions. Once the youngster took the checkered flag, the driver of the No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet pulled up next to him and gave a sign of respect. Although the camera did not provide a full glimpse of the exchange.
Allmendinger and Gibbs have only faced off 10 times during the 2021 season, but they will continue to see each other even more in the future. The 18-year-old will reportedly make the leap from ARCA to Xfinity Series in 2022 and take over either the No. 20 or the No. 54 on a full-time basis.