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Ty Gibbs’ Xfinity Career Off To Fast Start

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Monday, February 22 2021

Ty Gibbs celebrates his first Xfinity Series victory Friday in Daytona. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

When Ty Gibbs entered the Super Start Batteries 188 at the Daytona Road Course the 18-year-old had never competed in a NASCAR Xfinity race nor had he ever driven one of the series’ cars.

Yet, the grandson of team owner Joe Gibbs still managed to produce one of the biggest upsets in Xfinity history Saturday, defeating series champion Austin Cindric for the double-overtime victory. It was an accomplishment that made the teenager just the sixth driver to win his inaugural Xfinity race. However, the other five achieved the honor while full-time NASCAR Cup drivers and after three of them had claimed a Cup championship.   

That was not the case with Ty Gibbs. Ty notched his name in the record books by skipping NASCAR’s Truck Series, moving directly to Xfinity from ARCA, where he won six races last year.

“The first couple of laps I didn’t even know how to drive the car, the line and everything,” said Ty, the youngest driver ever to win an Xfinity road course race. 

“Once I kinda figured that out I started picking up speed and realized I could run with those guys. I don’t even know how I got to a position where I could win the race. I thought I was just going to come out here and log laps, get a decent finish. I completely surprised myself.”   

Driving a race car was the only sport that had interested Ty since age 2. His father, Coy, introduced his son to the sport via Go-Karts and has guided his career ever since. Ty cited his Late Model Stock years with Greg Marlowe as building his foundation, when he was told if he wanted it, he had to work for it.

“That’s the one thing I took away from that and even in life, he taught me a lot of life lessons,” Ty said.

 Joe Gibbs noted that his grandson’s schedule this year would include “probably 10 Xfinity races” in addition to his ARCA events. 

“Coy put this schedule together,” the elder Gibbs continued. “I think he has tried to pick the places where it would help him the most and he would grow the most and get the most experience.”  

 Ty didn’t attempt to hide his emotions following his stunning victory. He constantly wiped tears from his eyes during his post-race TV interview. During his post-race media zoom conference he said he was “worn out”, couldn’t believe he had won and admitted he was a “train wreck right now.”

“We didn’t dream about him being up front like that,” Joe Gibbs said. “I wish Coy was here. This is such an experience for our family. I called Pat (wife), she was crying so hard she couldn’t talk on the phone. I was shaking like a leaf. Heather (Ty’s mother) is upstairs. She can’t come in because of COVID.  It’s just such a rare experience. Thank the Lord for letting us enjoy this as a family.” 

  After starting 15th, Ty had made it to second by the beginning of Stage 2 in the scheduled 52-lap race. He snatched the lead for the first time on lap 21 and held the top spot for 12 laps before relinquishing it. 

In the race’s final stage, Cindric led Ty by about a second with two laps remaining when tire debris on the backstretch forced a caution. The two drivers were among those who pitted for fresh tires. For the first overtime restart, Cindric and Ty found themselves 11th and 12th, respectively. Ty slipped through a multi-car crash in the road course’s horseshoe ahead of Cindric. When the field lined up for the second overtime restart Ty was fourth and Cindric fifth. The two quickly shot to the front, but Cindric’s damaged Ford couldn’t catch Ty, who claimed a 1.726-second victory.

“Ty didn’t seem to put a wheel wrong when I was behind him,” Cindric said. “He seemed to be able to handle a lot of situations well. I put him in some pretty tough spots trying to hang on to the lead and he did a great job with it. There were a lot of times I could have easily been shoved off the race track. I felt like he raced me fair. It will be interesting to see what he does the rest of the year in his races.”  

  Even though Ty produced an upset victory, it possibly was his request for peanut butter and crackers during the race that will be told for years to come. Crew chief Chris Gayle was providing technical information to Ty during a caution. When asked what he wanted on his pit stop, he issued a request for peanut butter and crackers.

“I just got a little hungry there about halfway through the race,” Ty explained. “I’m a small guy so I process food pretty fast. I was looking for a snack.” 

 

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Monday, February 22 2021
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