Nigel Kinrade/Motorsport Images
Ty Gibbs became the youngest driver to reach seven victories in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at 19 years 5 months and 29 days when he took down Cup Series veteran Joey Logano at Richmond in April. He continues to power forward in the Xfinity Series, having won races on the intermediate Las Vegas oval and the Atlanta superspeedway in addition to Richmond’s short track. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver has also managed to stay sharp and consistent and run up front most everywhere he and the No. 54 Monster Energy GR Supra have competed.
Currently second in points, a mere 43 points adrift of championship leader AJ Allmendinger heading into today’s race on the 1.33-mile Nashville Superspeedway, Gibbs is eager for more.
“I’m excited to get back racing,” said last year’s Xfinity Series Rookie of the Year. “I mean, the weeks that we had off were nice, but I’d rather be racing. I’m ready to get back behind the wheel. This is my first time even seeing the place, so it is definitely different to show up and know I’ve never been here before. It’ll be different, but we’ve prepared so much on the simulators that Toyota provides us, so I feel like we’ll have a good idea before we get to the track.”
JGR teammate Kyle Busch handily raced to victory in the No. 54 Toyota in this event and for that reason, Gibbs is confident in his machinery come the drop of the green flag on Saturday afternoon.
“Yeah, I think we’ll have a good car here,” said Gibbs. “We made some adjustments just so we can get it to how I like my car to handle, so we’ll see what happens. My guys worked a lot and their butts off in trying to get this thing right, so it’s going to be really fun and it’s a cool-looking track too, so we’ll see what we have.”
Ty Gibbs and Kaulig Racing’s A J Allmendinger are shaping up to be the favorites for the Xfinity Series title this season. Matt Thacker/Motorsport Images
With three wins and five additional top-10 finishes to his record, it has been a strong sophomore season as he continues to learn the ways of NASCAR racing.
“Yeah, it has been good,” agreed Gibbs. “I feel like we lost a couple of races just on my part and I think I just need to put myself together a little bit more where I need to have maturity on my part. I guess that just comes with time and growing up in front of the world and in front of millions of people. I’ve just got to learn the hard way and I feel like I’ve got a lot of good people around me to guide me too. This is the path that I chose and I’ve got to do the best I can and keep learning and do everything the best way that I can.
“Everyone on the team prepares so much for these races and they look forward to them so much, so I guess there is just a lot of emotions on the line here,” he said of the ups-and-downs of competition at such a high level. “You know, I’ve had my fair share of run-ins and I’m learning on all of that from having to hear all of that stuff and I think that’s just what happens. You’re a 19 year-old racing in front of the world and that’s just something that you’re going to have to learn. But that’s just part of the path in life that I chose and that God gave me, so I’ve just got to keep pushing. It doesn’t really bother me too much. I’m very thankful to be where I’m at. I’m learning to handle all of that stuff at such a young age will it will all kind of help you out later in life and I’m sure as I get older, too.”
As to what comes next, Gibbs is looking forward to the widely varying tracks coming up on the Xfinity Series calendar.
“I’m totally excited about the Road America, Atlanta Motor Speedway, New Hampshire and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course races coming up here next. It’s all going to be fun,” he said. “We’ve got Road America next weekend. I feel like we almost won there last year. We had a part failure. That’s just part of it. Atlanta we’ve won earlier this year. We’ll see what we can do.”
And for the fast approaching Xfinity Series playoffs coming up fast in his No. 54 Toyota windshield,?
“Yeah, man, I’m pretty excited for them,” he said. “I feel like we’ve got a lot of speed. We just want to make sure that we play it smart and race conservative, but at the same time, be a little aggressive. We want to be a little aggressive and a little cautious. That’s just part of me learning how to race in the playoffs. I think we’ve got enough speed to go and win this championship. I want to keep it together and keep my composure and use my head.”
Joe Gibbs, the NFL coaching legend and head of Joe Gibbs Racing, spoke recently about his grandson Ty’s ultimate move into the Cup level of the sport, insisting Ty will remain in the Xfinity Series through the 2023 racing season.
“Yes, I’ve heard a lot about it all” offered Ty Gibbs of his future Cup plans. “We’ll just kind of see what happens in the next couple weeks and months. I don’t really know. I‘m not in control of it. We’ll see whatever God’s plan is and we’ll go from there.”