By Bobby Markos
Few drivers have dominated the stock car racing press cycle like Ty Gibbs has over the past three seasons. After breaking into the regional ARCA series in 2019, Gibbs has rapidly climbed the ranks of NASCAR all while rewriting the history books. On this week’s episode of The Dale Jr. Download, Gibbs joins Dale Jr. and co-host Mike Davis in the Bojangles Studio to discuss his rocket-like progression, from running a partial schedule and winning on the ARCA East and West tours to becoming the 2021 National ARCA Champion and Xfinity Rookie of the Year.
Author Zig Ziglar once said “success occurs when opportunity meets preparation”. For 19-year-old Ty Gibbs, the sentiment couldn’t ring any truer, as he has spent the last four years capitalizing on every chance he’s gotten while moving up the racing ladder. The young prodigy stopped the motorsports world dead in its tracks when he won the February 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series event at the Daytona Road Course in what was his first start in the series. He became the first driver in the modern NASCAR era to win in his first national series attempt, and joined racing elites Dale Earnhardt, Ricky Rudd, Terry Labonte, Joe Ruttman and Kurt Busch as the only drivers to win in their Xfinity Series debut. While it may seem as though Gibbs has burst onto the scene out of nowhere, his track record of accomplishments leading up to that moment show indication of years of dedication and hard work.
Ty entered the world of motorsports through racing Shifter Karts at the GoPro Motorplex in 2015. He transitioned into the world of late model stocks and joined the CARS tour a couple seasons later. After running solid and bringing home a few top-five finishes, Gibbs made his ARCA debut in 2019, and went on to win in only his sixth attempt on June 22nd at Gateway International. He finished the season with four wins, including another ARCA triumph at the famed Salem Speedway as well as K&N Regional wins at New Hampshire and Phoenix.
2020 saw Gibbs take on the ARCA East series full time, along with a partial campaign on the National ARCA circuit. Due to only being 17-years-old, Gibbs was limited to non-super speedway competition, but still managed to bring home seven wins across the two series and a runner-up points attempt in ARCA East. On October 4th of that year, he turned 18 and soon after announced his 2021 plans to run a full ARCA schedule as well as a handful of Xfinity efforts driving for his grandfather’s Joe Gibbs Racing outfit.
Last year would prove to be a breakthrough season for Gibbs and as the dust settled at Phoenix in November, he had registered 16 victories, an ARCA championship and Xfinity Rookie of the Year honors. Four of the wins came in Xfinity competition, and anticipation for Gibbs full-time drive in the runner-up NASCAR division grew by the week. This set the stage for the 2022 race year, and Gibbs has so far lived up to expectations leading the series with five victories to date.
Last month, Gibbs got the call to fill-in for an injured Kurt Busch in the 23XI Racing No. 45 after his hard crash at Pocono. He once again rose to the occasion, coming home in 16th with no-prior experience in the Next Gen Cup car. This past weekend at Michigan International, Gibbs recorded his first career top-10 finish in the Cup series in just his third start. As he continues to prove to be a serious championship contender in the Xfinity series, Gibbs is showing the motorsports world that no challenge is too great, and his time in the stock car racing spotlight has only begun..