Fresh off his 2022 Xfinity Series title, Ty Gibbs is looking to make an immediate Cup Series impact for grandfather Joe Gibbs.

NASCAR Cup Series

20 mins ago

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Ty Gibbs won’t use being a rookie as an excuse that he should lower expectations from what he typically expects out of himself and his race team.

He doesn’t want to hear that a rookie finishing 15th every week isn’t a bad result.

“I never think that way,” Gibbs told FOX Sports. “I would never put myself in any racing position or anything in life if I was going to suck.

“My thing is just work hard and if there’s still things I need to get better at, then figure those out along the way.”

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The 20-year-old Gibbs, the grandson of team owner Joe Gibbs, enters 2023 as the replacement for two-time Cup champion Kyle Busch, who couldn’t come to terms with the race team owned by the Super Bowl champion coach and NASCAR Hall of Fame team owner.

The organization changed the car number from 18 to 54 in hopes of Ty Gibbs being able to establish his own identity.

Gibbs established himself as a winner in NASCAR right away. He won in his Xfinity debut at the Daytona road course in 2021. He won 11 Xfinity races and posted 33 top-10s in 51 starts, capping off 2022 by winning at Phoenix to capture the series championship.

As he embarks on his first full season of Cup racing, the highly touted rookie will continue to have the goals that he has taken into every week of his racing career. He will start 33rd in the Daytona 500 as the NASCAR season opens Sunday afternoon (2:30 p.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports App) with the sport’s biggest race.

“For me, I just go out there and compete the best that I can and compete for wins,” Gibbs said. “It would be a waste of my time to ever be racing if I didn’t think I’d ever have a shot to win or if weren’t working hard enough to win.

“I just think that’s just a waste of use.”

Gibbs ready for Cup season

Ty Gibbs described what he thinks the biggest challenge will be as he transitions into full-time Cup racing.

Moving to Cup with Gibbs will be most of his Xfinity Series mechanics and crew chief, Chris Gayle. That will help with continuity as he faces the biggest challenge of his career.

There will be a big void, though, going into 2023 for Gibbs. His father, Coy, died the morning after he won the Xfinity championship in November at Phoenix. The team, in a statement that day, said he died in his sleep.

Ty Gibbs has declined to comment on his father’s death. 

“As we start the new season, I want to thank the NASCAR community for their support of our family during these difficult times throughout the past couple of months,” Joe Gibbs said in a statement last month.

“We are still working through the grieving process, and it is still extremely difficult to discuss. While we are excited to start the new racing season, we hope everyone can continue to respect the privacy of our family.”

Ty Gibbs has known life in the spotlight and life that continues an annual trip to the Daytona 500. He has been coming to the race for several years, flying down on the team plane the morning of the race and back home that night.

He has enjoyed celebrations in victory lane and knows starting the race Sunday will be special.

“I came to so many in my life, probably the most races I came to was here,” Gibbs said. “So it’ll be very special to be in it.”

Gibbs crowned Xfinity champ

Ty Gibbs holds off Noah Gragson to win the 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway.

Gibbs will be one of two rookies at NASCAR’s top level this year. Noah Gragson, who has been critical of the way Gibbs has raced in recent years, is the other.

The rookie award for the season is presented to the driver who finishes highest in the overall standings. Gibbs said he won’t focus on a battle with Gragson.

“I guess it’s important in some types of ways,” Gibbs said. “But I’m focused on getting race wins and stuff like that and compete for a championship.

“I think the Rookie of the Year just comes along with it, just like all the other awards do.”

Did he say championship? He did. And he wasn’t kidding. That’s just the way Gibbs is wired.

He doesn’t want to hear that he averaged a finish of 22.9 in his 15 Cup races last year as a substitute driver for the injured Kurt Busch.

“If I do everything correctly and very fast, I don’t see why you can’t win a championship,” Gibbs said. “There’s a lot of things you have to work on, but I think that if I put all the work in and do as much stuff as I can, the sky’s the limit. 

“Anything you do competitive or anything, … I feel like I’d be stupid to set expectations to run 16th — which could be good, maybe, but I’m not going to stop there.”

And if he runs 16th every week, he doesn’t see it as something he can’t handle.

“There’s nothing to handle,” he said. “It’s just about getting better. That’s what you have to handle — understanding what you need to do to get better.

“I will never expect myself to suck. I would never put myself in that situation. I would never go into anything different.”

Bob Pockrass covers NASCAR for FOX Sports. He has spent decades covering motorsports, including the past 30 Daytona 500s, with stints at ESPN, Sporting News, NASCAR Scene magazine and The (Daytona Beach) News-Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bobpockrass, and sign up for the FOX Sports NASCAR Newsletter with Bob Pockrass.

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