AVONDALE, AZ — Hours after Ty Gibbs won Saturday night’s NASCAR Xfinity Series championship, his father and Joe Gibbs Racing vice chairman, Coy Gibbs, passed away in his sleep.
It was a tragic loss for the NASCAR community and one that stings deeply. There was chatter something was up early race day morning when it was unveiled that Ty Gibbs wouldn’t be racing today due to a family emergency. Daniel Hemric was later announced as the replacement driver for Sunday’s season finale. Then, shortly after 3 p.m. ET, JGR issued the statement we all feared as coming.
Gibbs, 49, was a football player growing up and played linebacker for Stanford in college in the early 90’s. He shifted to racing later and made his NASCAR debut in the Truck Series in 2000. He would share a ride with his brother, J.D. A year later, Coy became a full-time driver in the series. Two years later, he moved up to the Xfinity Series. A year after that though, he moved back over to the football side and was hired as an Offensive Quality Control Assistant with his dad, Joe Gibbs, as his father was re-hired as the Washington Redskins head coach. The younger Gibbs remained in his role until 2007.
In 2016, he moved into his role as vice chairman and COO.
This is rough news for the entire Gibbs family as this is the second son that Joe Gibbs has lost. J.D. also tragically lost his life in 2019 from complications with a battle from degenerative neurological disease. He too was 49 when he passed.
For Ty, this has to be extremely difficult in a sense that he had endured so much criticism over the past week for his actions at the end of last Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Martinsville. After a week of being questioned, he won the season finale as well as the race to score the championship.
I’m greatly moved to what his dad Coy said about him a few hours after the championship and even more so, him saying this before he passed at that.
“Yeah, no, I’m definitely proud of him,” Gibbs said on Saturday night. “I mean, I’ve always got his back as his father.
“Obviously it’s heartbreaking to go through tough stuff and watch — it’s actually more heartbreaking to watch him go through it. I don’t give a rip; I’m old and don’t care. In fact, I’ve been racing with Chris since we were like 23 or something, so I’ve known him forever. We’ve kind of gone through a bunch of stuff in our life.
“But to see a kid hurting — and he knows he screwed up; and to go through all that, it’s tough. It’s tough as a parent for sure.
“Watching it today, yeah, just to see his determination. I think he’s got skills and he’s determined. It definitely made me proud. I think it made my wife — we were both proud, just because he just hammered down and did his job. If he wants to do this for a living, he’s going to learn how to do that.”
To hear him say those words and to later pass on just moves me. People forget that Ty is only 20. He’s expected to be far mature beyond his years and his dad had to watch his son get ridiculed for most of this season. To have his back and to witness the glory of a championship, only to pass later is sad.
This is a family business and the 20-year-old Gibbs lost his uncle and dad in a span of three years. His grandpa has lost two sons.