The victory was “a dream come true,” as Gibbs and his grandfather put it, and an emotional one as well. Although the owner of Joe Gibbs Racing may have seemed detached behind his face mask as he watched, his glasses fogged at the end of the race and he hugged a JGR team member.
“This is such an experience for our family,” Joe Gibbs said (via the Associated Press). “I’ve been blessed to enjoy so much, but this, he had not made a lap in the car. We didn’t dream about him being up front like that.
“This is the only thing Ty has wanted to do since he was 2 years old. This is such an experience. Any parent or grandparent would tell you, it’s like a dream come true for our family.”
JGR has long been a family affair for Gibbs, his sons J.D. (who died in 2019) and Coy, and now Coy’s son, Ty.
The race was a first for Ty, who made a two-step jump from ARCA to the Xfinity road race and broke the age record held by Cindric, who won at 20 in 2019. Gibbs had never raced an Xfinity car or done a live pit stop before the race, for which practice and qualifying were abbreviated because of coronavirus restrictions.
Afterward, he was teary as he did the one thing for which he was not fully prepared — addressing reporters as a winner. “I don’t even know how to feel,” he said, wiping his eyes. “I’m sorry I’m a wreck; I really didn’t think this was going to happen at all.”
Gibbs won eight ARCA races in 28 starts over the past two seasons, and his 18th birthday meant Grandpa would give him a chance to move up to NASCAR’s second tier.
“I don’t even know how to feel,” Ty Gibbs told reporters. “This is really hard for me to explain. After my uncle passed away, it’s been hard for me. It’s just a dream come true. I’m just rambling. I’m excited. Mixed emotions for sure. This is just awesome.”
Just over two years ago, J.D. Gibbs died at 49 after a long battle with a degenerative neurological disease. His father’s right-hand man, J.D. was instrumental in expanding the business from a single-car team to a NASCAR force that has won five championships at the Cup Series level. Coy, his younger brother, raced for a time in the NASCAR Truck Series.
“The family is everything to me; they do so much for me,” Ty Gibbs said. “I just can’t thank them enough. This is just amazing; this is a dream come true. It’s all the man above, I’m sorry, I’m a wreck, I didn’t think this was going to happen at all. This is awesome; I can’t thank everybody enough. …This is just amazing.”