NASCAR Mailbag: Ty Gibbs as a Team Owner? It’s Not as Crazy as It Sounds
So, does Ty Gibbs inherit his father’s portion of the Joe Gibbs Racing Xfinity team? Does Ty become a champion and part-owner of the team in the same year? (From W.G. at Gmail.com)
Anyone who has lost a close family member will tell you getting through the first holiday season afterward is a difficult experience. The holidays bring back happy memories, now tempered by thinking about those no longer there to share them.
The family will certainly be going through that following the death of Coy Gibbs just hours after son Ty Gibbs won the Xfinity Series championship at Phoenix Raceway. However, patriarch Joe Gibbs will have more on his mind than most in the coming weeks and months because it’s likely he needs to consider an entirely new succession plan.
The Hall of Fame football coach and NASCAR owner, who turns 82 on Nov. 25, remains fully engaged in JGR decision-making. He hopefully has many years left, but Gibbs does have to determine what happens to JGR down the road. One option would be to sell, but that might mean exiting a sport he loves sooner than he’d like.
Gibbs and wife Patricia raised two sons; J.D. died in 2019, and Coy died this month. Both were executives with the racing team at the time of their deaths, and media reports referred to Coy as a co-owner of his father’s racing business.
Coy and J.D. each left behind a wife and four children, so it’s likely a portion of Joe Gibbs Racing has been passed down to their widows. Coy would have been the natural successor as majority owner, and now his parents must reconsider the long-term path.
One thing for sure is that splitting Joe Gibbs Racing eight ways among the grandchildren is a recipe for indecision and infighting. Ty is the best-known of that generation of the family tree, and cousin Jackson works for JGR’s pit crews. As such, they’re likely to remain in the sport for years to come and could be the key players in forging the company’s future if it remains in the family.
One matter I haven’t heard discussed when talking about Ty Gibbs and Brandon Jones is sponsorship problems because of the incident at Martinsville. How does Joe Gibbs call the sponsor of the No. 19 Toyota and say, “I’m sorry your car didn’t make it into the Championship 4 because my grandson took him out of the last lap.” Will this impact the search for a sponsor for Ty in the Cup Series next year? (From G.N. at ATT.net)
This one really got me thinking because I love the intersection of sports and money.
Let’s start with this: Menards underwrote the entire Xfinity Series season for Brandon Jones, making it the sponsor that lost out on maximum benefits from a potential championship.
We’ve already started seeing a few 2023 deals announced, and Menards following Jones to JR Motorsports is the least surprising of the bunch. The home improvement chain will pick up the tab for the No. 9 Chevy for the entire season, so that’s big money flowing out of Joe Gibbs’ wallet and into Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s checking account.
That’s not the most intriguing aspect of the Martinsville debacle. Christopher Bell, who was JGR’s entry in the Cup Series Championship 4 following two incredibly clutch playoff wins, was sponsored by Rheem for a third of his 2022 in continuation of a long relationship. Bell’s wins in 2021 on the Daytona road course and this season at Loudon were in the No. 20 Rheem Toyota.
Jones’ father is JR Jones, the executive chairman of Rheem, a major manufacturer of heating and cooling systems. While it would be understandable from a personal standpoint if he no longer wanted to spend money with JGR, Jones’ company announced in September that the Bell sponsorship will continue next year.
The Martinsville incident happened a month after the announcement. Had it happened a month before the announcement, we might be looking at an entirely different scenario.
As for Ty Gibbs’ sponsorship possibilities this season, JGR probably has most of the money lined up already. It wouldn’t be surprising if a few marketing officers Joe Gibbs approached took a wait-and-see approach rather than hopping in this year.
Got a question or observation about racing? Sportscasting’s John Moriello does a mailbag column each Friday. Write to him at [email protected].