Upcoming Events on

RATV white
Full Schedule

Ty Gibbs Continues to Shine in Rookie Season Despite Missing Playoffs

The rookie driver led a career-high 102 laps at Bristol Motor Speedway and is trying to end the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season as the highest-finishing non-Playoff driver in the standings.


hero image for Ty Gibbs Continues to Shine in Rookie Season Despite Missing Playoffs

When Ty Gibbs was collected in a race-ending incident going for the stage win at Daytona International Speedway in August, it was clear the rookie driver was frustrated about missing out on the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.

While it appeared the rookie driver was potentially on his way to his first Playoff berth, he was instead the only Joe Gibbs Racing driver to miss the cut. That has not slowed the 20-year-old driver as he looks to finish his first Cup Series campaign on a high note.

“My approach is to go win and do the best I can with what I have,” Gibbs said at Darlington Raceway in early September.

Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway, Gibbs was in contention throughout the night and appears to be knocking on the door of that first Cup Series victory in the closing weeks of the 2023 season.

Following the crash at Daytona and a disappointing 21st-place finish at Darlington, Gibbs finished 14th at Kansas after starting 36th, and under the lights on Saturday at Bristol he brought the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota home in fifth place after leading a career-high 102 of the 500 laps.

“Just really, really proud of Ty,” his grandfather and team owner Joe Gibbs said following the race. “I think he was in the middle of a race there, really felt good, really fast.

“It's hard work, Ty is going to have to earn his way,” he added. “I think tonight was a really big step for him.”

Despite being the latest in the Gibbs family to take up the racing banner, it is clear the young driver understands he needs to work hard to make it at the sport’s top level and nothing is given or guaranteed.

“We just appreciate the fact that he understands this,” said the NASCAR Hall of Fame team owner. “You got to earn your way. He's got to keep fighting and we'll just see because there's no way to talk your way or buy your way. You got to race your way. We're proud of what he's done so far.”

Gallery image 0.

Ty Gibbs and teammate Denny Hamlin battle for the lead during the Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol. (Tyson Gifford, Racing America)

The strong performances have also made an impression on his veteran teammates at JGR. Prior to Saturday’s race at Bristol, Christopher Bell predicted the young driver would come sooner than later.

“Ty has had a heck of a rookie season. I knew that Bristol would be a track he would perform well at. It just fits his M.O.,” said Bell. “They’ve been certainly picking it up and I think it’s just a matter of time before he’s in Victory Lane. It’s cool to see when all of us are doing well, he’s able to hang with us and he’s doing a great job.”

The young driver continues to show signs of maturity and improvement, something he may need as the series heads to Texas Motor Speedway this weekend.

While Gibbs has been strong throughout the season, he has struggled a bit at the mile-and-a-half tracks this season and finished 20th in Texas last year while filling in at 23XI Racing. Gibbs did finish third in the September 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at TMS, however, but JGR is searching for its first Cup Series win at the facility since 2020.

Although he missed out on the Playoffs in his first season, Gibbs is very much on his way to a Rookie of the Year title and can still finish the season 17th in the overall standings, which would be the highest of any non-Playoff driver. He currently holds that position with a 17-point advantage over former champion Chase Elliott.

Could Gibbs become the first NASCAR Cup Series rookie to win a race since Austin Cindric in last year’s Daytona 500? That will certainly be a tall task amid the Playoff battle going on, but if the performance of Gibbs and the No. 54 JGR crew continues as it has this season, that first victory could be around any corner.

Photo courtesy Jonathan McCoy, Racing America

Racer Jobs 300


Accelerate Your Career In Motorsports With Racer Jobs