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Nov 2, 2022
Ty Gibbs says several lessons have been learned over the past week and he is willing to accept the consequences of whatever comes as a result of crashing teammate Brandon Jones over the weekend at Martinsville Speedway.
"It's been really long and busy, but I put myself in this position," Gibbs said during NASCAR Championship Media Day at the Phoenix Convention Center. "I have to learn from it and move on. It's just hard."
The pushback from this, of course, is that it sounds like the talking points that Gibbs has recited before between swerving on pit road at Pocono or various run-ins on track this summer that has made him something of a pariah amongst his peers.
So how is this time different?
For one, he affected his family’s race team, prevented them from having two cars in the championship race this weekend at Phoenix Raceway instead of just himself, not to mention costing Toyota another championship, the manufacturer that makes so much happen at Joe Gibbs Racing.
Gibbs was already locked into the final four and did not need to pass Jones, much less wreck him to do it, and then celebrating so emphatically immediately after the race.
There has been pressure, criticism and possible consequences levied on the 20-year-old prodigy from all directions, in a way that hasn’t occurred this season.
"The biggest thing for me is that JGR is one big family and for me to break that apart with my selfish actions is that it affects me," Gibbs said. "I grew up there and it's not cool."
Even though Jones is leaving Joe Gibbs Racing for JR Motorsports next season, his father J.R. is the CEO of Rheem, a major team sponsor on the Cup Series side. That's the sort of impact Gibbs had on the team with that move.
The elder Gibbs said on Tuesday during a media availability that all of that is a major factor in what made this such a messy incident.
"I think that’s it," he said. "All of us certainly wish that it had never happened. We think the world of Brandon and his dad, J.R., so we’re just kind of committed to, at this point, go through all of this and try and do it in the right way. That’s what I think we’re all focused on."
First, the younger Gibbs says he’s spoken to Jones.
"We have talked, our conversation was private, I don't want to infringe on that privacy, but I understood where he was coming from. I accept it and I'm the one that did that and put us in that position."
His voice quivered as he said it.
"You know, going back if I could redo it multiple times, I would," Gibbs said. "I’ve thought, I guess this scenario over millions of times, you know, and it’s hard for me because I have to live with it now. And it’s really hard, but we could have had two JGR cars, I guess, in the Championship 4, and I took that out. I took 50 percent of Toyota’s championship and ours, JGR’s championship away for my selfish actions.
"So, I have to move forward and do the best I can to work and to fix these things."
The entire body of work has left much of his peers with complete disregard and animus for the grandson of the team owner.
Fellow championship contender Noah Gragson told Jones immediately after the incident on Saturday to ‘kick his ---, bro,’ and doubled down with how he felt about Gibbs at Media Day.
"Just voicing my opinion, I don’t like him," Gregson said. "It’s just speaking what everybody doesn’t want to say, but they feel it. What is there to (like)? I’m excited to race with (Justin Allgaier), I’m excited to race with (Josh Berry), excited with a lot of the other guys. Just over it."
Gragson says the contrition no longer strikes him as authentic.
"I’m sick and tired of the ‘I’m sorry and I’m trying to learn’ deal," Gragson said. "It’s been two years. (Ty) doesn’t care. He lives in fantasy land."
Coach Gibbs indicated there were consequences to be had.
"When tough things happen, and certainly nobody wanted that to happen, I said, ‘Now there’s consequences,’ and so we’re trying to walk through those with him," Coach Gibbs said. "Ty is walking through it, I’m walking through it, and we’re still in that process. It was something that was heat of the battle. Everything is taking place. There was so much going on."
Does the younger Gibbs know what those consequences could be?
"I do not," he said. "I was not part of those conversations (but) I accept whatever will come."
Could that affect the No. 18 Cup Series ride that he was expected to be named to next season?
"I don't know what the future holds," Gibbs said. "What I did was unacceptable. I lost a lot of respect from people and all I can do now is look back on it and learn from it."