Ty Gibbs has had one of the most remarkable career starts of any driver ever lined up for a NASCAR race. He has won nearly 37% of the races he has entered in a NASCAR-affiliated event, but he has also begun to build a reputation that could make it difficult for him to climb the standings.
Gibbs, 19, currently drives the No. 54 car in the Xfinity Series for Joe Gibbs Racing, owned by his grandfather Joe Gibbs. He has won four times in 18 career Xfinity starts and has a series-high three wins in the first seven races of 2022. However, the method he has used to get those wins has caused some tension between him and your competitors.
Ty Gibbs has used an aggressive approach to fight for Xfinity Series wins
Most recently, Ty Gibbs battled part-time teammate John Hunter Nemechek in the No. 18 car for the checkered flag on Saturday at Richmond Raceway. Gibbs and Nemechek were the only two drivers to lead during the race, and the final race turned into a duel between the two Toyotas.
Nemechek made a clean pass for the lead with four laps to go, but was caught by Gibbs on the final lap. Gibbs pushed Nemechek through Turns 1 and 2 and then carried Nemechek down the track at Turn 3 to take the lead.
Nemechek was not pleased.
“I just passed,” Nemechek said on pit road after the race. “He didn’t even try to do the corner there, but riders never forget. That is sure.”
Gibbs himself admitted after the race that he is now in a position to take retaliation.
“I definitely deserve one back, but we’re racing for wins, and they’re hard to come by, so you have to take it,” Gibbs said. “Short Track Racing”.
Gibbs also had controversy surrounding his win in Las Vegas earlier in the season.
Gibbs won his second race of the season on March 19 in a superspeedway-style event at Atlanta Motor Speedway, but his first victory of the year two weeks earlier at Las Vegas Motor Speedway also drew attention for his racing conduct.
Ryan Sieg hit the wall at Turn 4 on Lap 3 of that race when Gibbs got behind Sieg and knocked the air out of his rear wing to release him.
“He knows what he’s doing,” Sieg said during a rain delay 19 laps into the race. “He’s got the best car in the garage, and then he gives you a not-so-smart run at the beginning of lap 10… he definitely has to learn his lesson, if you know what I mean.”
Sieg tried to rip Gibbs apart later in the race and missed. Still, the jealousy over the quality of the cars Gibbs has at his disposal because of his family heritage is similar to that experienced by several current Cup Series drivers.
The Dillon brothers also endured silver spoon accusations.
Austin and Ty Dillon have competed in at least one of NASCAR’s national tour series for more than a decade and are now full-time Cup Series drivers, but they hit bumps. Many of those incidents stemmed from the fact that, like Gibbs, they drove for teams owned by their grandfather Richard Childress.
The issue came to a head in an October 2013 Truck race at Martinsville Speedway when then-Richard Childress Racing Cup Series driver Kevin Harvick and Ty Dillon got tangled up.
“(No.) 3 (Dillon’s truck) just left me,” Harvick said. “(That is) exactly why I am leaving RCR, because you have these kids who have no respect for what they do in this sport and they have been fed everything with a spoon. … It’s a shame for a rich kid like that to eliminate you.”
Joey Logano also battled through adversity due to substantial praise
Former Cup champion Joey Logano, who recently called out Ty Gibbs, was not driving for a family member, but other drivers believed he came from a privileged background that former driver Mark Martin gave Logano rave reviews when Logano I was only 12 years old. Two-time Xfinity Series Champion Randy Lajoie gave him the nickname “Sliced Bread” because he thought Logano was the best thing since sliced bread.
All that support made life on the racetrack more difficult for Logano early in his career, as competitors regularly pushed Logano and drove aggressively to test claims about Logano’s driving ability.
Logano persevered through those tests, ultimately becoming the 2015 Daytona 500 and 2018 Cup Series champion. Given his penchant for aggressive driving, Gibbs may have to traverse a similar path to have success at the next level.
All stats courtesy of racing reference
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