Rivals of Ty Gibbs and Joe Gibbs Racing Show Nothing but Love and Support in the Wake of Tragedy
In the weeks and months following Dale Earnhardt’s death at the 2001 Daytona 500, the NASCAR community embraced Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the entire Earnhardt family with an outpouring of support that was a fitting testament to the caliber and decency of those who work in the sport.
When a Hendrick Motorsports team plane crashed in the fall of 2004, killing all 10 passengers, including the son and brother of legendary team owner Rick Hendrick, the NASCAR garage similarly rallied around the Hendrick family by showing overwhelming love and kindness to Rick Hendrick and all those most closely affected by the tragedy.
Now, the family of NASCAR Hall of Fame team owner Joe Gibbs and newly crowned NASCAR Xfinity Series champion Ty Gibbs is dealing with unspeakable grief following the sudden loss of Coy Gibbs — Joe’s son and Ty’s father — this past weekend. And just as it always does, the NASCAR community has risen to the occasion.
Rival team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr., drivers who’ve sparred with Ty Gibbs offer support
Within minutes of Joe Gibbs Racing announcing prior to Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series finale at Phoenix that JGR vice chairman Coy Gibbs had died in his sleep on Saturday night, heartfelt condolences began pouring in from around the NASCAR industry. And many of those condolences came not from allies of the JGR organization but from some of the team’s fiercest competitors, including two drivers — JR Motorsports teammates Noah Gragson and Sam Mayer — whom Ty Gibbs feuded with on and off the track this season.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., who owns the cars of Gragson and Mayer and had three drivers competing against Ty Gibbs in the Xfinity Series Championship 4 race, has likewise gone out of his way to show care and concern for the Gibbs family — especially 20-year-old Ty, who was a lightning rod for controversy at various points throughout the 2022 season.
Of course, if anyone can relate to the unimaginable grief Ty is experiencing, it’s Earnhardt Jr. — who lost his legendary father in a crash on the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500.
“For me, I’m wiping the slate clean with Ty,” Earnhardt Jr., who is also an announcer for NASCAR on NBC, said during this week’s episode of The Dale Jr. Download podcast. “I’m going to give him all the grace I can imagine. I was given the same sort of open canvas when I lost my dad, so I’m not going to worry about what he says, how he talks, words he uses, what he does on the track. I’m going to let him do what he wants to do, I’m talking, for a while. I’m not going to be critical and judgmental of anything going on with him.”
Earnhardt Jr., who was only 26 when his father died, recalled how certain people in the sport — including then-NASCAR president Mike Helton and drivers Dale Jarrett, Bobby Labonte, and Mark Martin — were there to help him navigate his loss, much like he expects others will be for Ty Gibbs.
“The industry is pretty incredible in these type of deals,” Earnhardt Jr. said on The Download. “I saw [NASCAR chairman] Jim France after the race Sunday, and that was the conversation we had. Jim France just watched Joey Logano win the championship, he is at the very top of the mountain — Jim is — leading the sport, and out of the elevator, in the five minutes we were around each other to get to the rental car, we talked about the industry embracing Ty and trying to help him through that process.”
Media personalities, Cup Series drivers, and Cup teams extend condolences to the Gibbs family
Rival team owners, like Dale Earnhardt Jr., aren’t the only ones who’ve wrapped their proverbial arms around the Gibbs family since Coy Gibbs’ unexpected passing — which occurred just a few hours after watching son Ty capture the NASCAR Xfinity Series championship.
Members of the media have chimed in as well. One of the most personal tributes came just before Sunday’s race from noted NASCAR on FOX reporter/social media influencer Bob Pockrass. “Coy Gibbs was always friendly to me,” Pockrass tweeted less than an hour before the green flag waved on the season’s final race. “Often when there was something controversial or sensitive or personnel-related, Coy would say he couldn’t talk to me because he would have to lie when answering some of the questions and he didn’t want to lie to me. He said it with a grin. RIP.”
Other well-known media personalities who’ve used Twitter as their conduit to express condolences include NASCAR on NBC’s Rutledge Wood and Kyle Petty, NASCAR on FOX’s Mike Joy, NASCAR.com’s Alex Weaver, Jeff Gluck of The Athletic, and Brett Griffin of the popular Door Bumper Clear podcast.
Several drivers who race against JGR on Sundays have also made their sympathies known. Among them: Bubba Wallace, Kyle Larson, William Byron, Ty Dillon, Chase Briscoe, and Kurt Busch.
Along with individual drivers, rival teams wasted no time Sunday letting the Gibbs family know that they are in everyone’s thoughts.
Joe Gibbs Racing president ‘overwhelmed’ by support from NASCAR community
Joe Gibbs isn’t on Twitter, and Ty Gibbs has been understandably silent on the social networking site since his father’s passing.
Likewise, the official Joe Gibbs Racing team Twitter account has been inactive since announcing Coy Gibbs’ death just after 3 p.m. EST Sunday afternoon.
On Tuesday, however, Joe Gibbs Racing president Dave Alpern sent out a message of gratitude for all the love being sent their way.
“I’m overwhelmed by the outpouring of prayer and support our team and the Gibbs family has received from NASCAR, our partners, drivers, competitors, and our entire industry,” Alpern tweeted, along with a picture of himself and Coy Gibbs much earlier in life. “Truly grateful to be a part of the NASCAR community.”
As are many in times of tragedy and loss.