Ty Gibbs’ future is unquestionably in the NASCAR Cup Series. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver has proven that in less than two full Xfinity Series seasons, where he’s impressively earned nine wins. He’s only solidified that future in recent weeks, capably serving as a substitute for the injured Kurt Busch.
This week the 19-year-old appeared on the Dale Jr. Download and talked about his journey from being a youngster just getting started in racing, to where he is today. At one point, he was asked what it was like several weeks ago when he got that call to make his Cup Series debut at Pocono. The young driver detailed the experience and called out his grandfather in the process.
Ty Gibbs has impressed in Xfinity Series
While Ty Gibbs, by his own admission, regularly gets referred to as “Silver Spoon” because of his last name, he’s proven since his first Xfinity Series debut last year that he’s not getting a ride on name only. He won that race on the Daytona road course and sent a message to the rest of his competitors.
Since that race, Gibbs has repeatedly shown he’s clearly one of the best drivers in the series, winning eight times in 38 races or an incredible winning percentage of 21 percent of the time.
This season alone, the JGR driver has won five times, and he’s done it on a variety of tracks, including Atlanta (superspeedway), Richmond (short track), and Road America. He won this past weekend’s race at Michigan.
Gibbs calls out grandfather for being a micromanager
Gibbs’ performance over the last two years was rewarded several weeks ago when he received the unexpected call to make his Cup Series debut at Pocono, only after Kurt Busch had suffered a concussion in qualifying. The young driver visited with Dale Earnhardt Jr. on his podcast this week and provided details on how it all went down.
“I was with my buddy Drew Dollar. He is one of my closest friends. We were driving back,” Gibbs recalled. “I remember Coach (Joe Gibbs) called me. I’m driving our rental car on the way back to the airport. I remember I got the call and I’m like, ‘Heck yeah.’ You know, you get your butterflies a little bit in your stomach. I was very excited.
“And Coach was trying to micromanage the whole situation. I’m not calling him out or anything. But we were just parked on the side of the road for about an hour and a half, just trying to figure out what I need to do. All I want to do is just go home. All the broadcasts mentioned that I went to the TRD simulator. But I went to my house to my simulator.”
Matches up with Denny Hamlin’s version of events
Interestingly, Gibbs’ account of what happened lines up with what Denny Hamlin said last week on the Door Bumper Clear podcast, where he acknowledged that the decision-making process, or that hour and half Gibbs was talking about, proved chaotic.
“It was a complete clusterf***,” Hamlin bluntly admitted. “We didn’t know what we were doing. We must have changed the plan three times the night before the race because we had had protocols to put John Hunter (Nemechek) in. We had planned for John Hunter in January. We had him fitted in the car. We had his insert, how much he needs to be raised up, the pedals. We had all of our presets.
“Then as this happens, I talk to Joe, tell him what’s going on, and then obviously, should we put Ty in the car question comes up. We just go back and forth and back and forth. I must have told the people at the track — ‘Alright, this is the plan’ — three different times and there was three different drivers every time. It was a very late, last-minute thing and we just thought that Ty needed to get some seat time.”
Gibbs has gotten plenty of seat time the last three weeks and been more than impressive, including finishes of 16th (Pocono), 17th (Indianapolis), and 10th (Michigan). His grandfather might have micromanaged the situation to put him in the 23XI Racing car, but it appears that it was the right call.