Wearing his new, sparkling NASCAR Xfinity Series champion’s ring and sporting a pair of stylish sneakers, 20-year-old Ty Gibbs offered smiles and cherished recollections of his 2022 championship season.
He calmly asked reporters to focus on the racing topic, saying he did not feel comfortable yet responding to questions about the tragic loss of his father, Joe Gibbs Racing Vice Chairman Coy Gibbs, 49, who passed away in his sleep in Phoenix after Ty’s impressive championship trophy hoist there just hours earlier.
“I’ve been doing good, thank you for asking, definitely appreciate you guys,” Gibbs said addressing the subject immediately. “Right now I’m not going to touch on that subject at all, just going to stick with the racing questions.”
Gibbs said he had been absolutely committed to coming to Nashville to celebrate his and the team’s achievement. Only two weeks ago, the JGR team – owner by his grandfather, NASCAR Hall of Famer Joe Gibbs – formally announced that Gibbs will drive the No. 54 Toyota in the NASCAR Cup Series fulltime in 2023.
“Definitely going to be fun,” said Gibbs, speaking with the media for the first time since his championship press conference on Nov. 5. He said he’s devoted a lot of time to learning the NASCAR Cup Series car on the SIM and feels the 15 races he got to compete in during 2022 filling in for the injured Kurt Busch in the 23XI Racing Toyota will be a substantial boost to his rookie season next year.
“Definitely a huge benefit for sure,” Gibbs said. “I’m very thankful to be put in that opportunity. Again, thank you to (team co-owners) Denny (Hamlin) and Michael (Jordan) for the opportunity. It was really cool.
Of the unexpected chance to get some seat time in the Cup car in advance of is move up to the series, Gibbs said, “Going back and forth and double-duty and racing for the championship in one series, it was a lot, but I did feel like I got comfortable with it (Cup car). I’m thankful to have had the experience.”