CHARLOTTE, NC (AP) – Ty Gibbs was promoted to NASCAR’s premier Cup series on Tuesday in an anticipated announcement that came as no celebration as Joe Gibbs Racing continues to mourn the loss of Gibbs’ father.
Coy Gibbs died in his sleep hours after his 20-year-old son won the Xfinity Series championship at Phoenix Raceway on November 5. He was 49, the same age as his older brother, JD, when he passed away in 2019.
Joe Gibbs, the NASCAR and NFL Hall of Famer, has lost both of his sons a month before their 50th birthday. Coy Gibbs was vice president of his father’s NASCAR team at the time of his death.
The Gibbs family has not made any public statements since Coy Gibbs’ death was confirmed shortly before the NASCAR season finale. Ty Gibbs did not race in the Nov. 6 final and has made only one public appearance since then, courting a Charlotte Hornets match with his younger brother, a cousin and another driver last week.
Tuesday’s announcement that Ty Gibbs will replace Kyle Busch in JGR’s Cup lineup came in a four-paragraph press release stating that during this year’s championship season, Gibbs will move up with Chris Gayle, his crew chief.
Ty Gibbs will drive the No. 54 Toyota Camry next year, and JGR said it plans to use the No. 18 for future use. Joe Gibbs chose number 18 when he launched his NASCAR team in 1992 and Busch spent the last 15 years with the number.
Ty Gibbs has used the No. 54 for the past two seasons in the Xfinity Series, winning 11 of 51 races and the championship in the season finale at Phoenix. His first national series title ended a bumpy season for Ty Gibbs, who retired along with other drivers, was fined by NASCAR and then cost JGR driver Brandon Jones a spot in the championship finals by knocking him out of the final round at Martinsville. to turn the pipe. Motorway.
If Gibbs had simply stayed second behind Jones, both JGR drivers would have made it to the championship race and Toyota would have had two entries. Joe Gibbs promised there would be consequences for his grandson, but the team had to get through championship week first.
Ty Gibbs then won the title, only to learn the next morning at a hotel near Phoenix that his father had died.
Before the Martinsville incident, Toyota Racing Development president David Wilson had defended Gibbs’ growth, noting that he is younger than most of his peers. He will join a JGR lineup with 42-year-old Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin, who turns 42 later this week, as well as Christopher Bell, who turns 28 next month. Bell raced for the Cup title in Phoenix, finishing third in the title race.
“What we have to remember, especially when you consider that he will continue to compete at Cup level, he still has a lot to learn. He just turned 20. He’s going to make mistakes,” said Wilson in October. “Not only did he get into trouble early in the season, but once he got out of the car he dealt with it aggressively. He has processed the emotion much better once he gets out of the car.
“But he’s still seeing things that are new to him, and it’s going to be a very dynamic time for him.”
Ty Gibbs spent the week leading up to the finale apologizing for the Jones incident, which he admitted was selfish and left the entire Gibbs organization unaware of the big picture. He also managed to be overly aggressive and sometimes even dirty on the track.
He was booed in both Martinsville after turning Jones, and again in Phoenix after winning the title.
“I definitely made some mistakes in the past and last weekend, but the best thing for me is to move on. And that’s what I did (in Phoenix) in my race, and we won,” Ty Gibbs said after the race. “Just keep going and learn from my mistakes. I can’t go back and change the past; and if I could, I would. But we can’t, and the best thing for me is to learn from it.”
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