CHARLOTTE, N.C. (BVM) – In a move that had been speculated for months, Joe Gibbs Racing officially handed the NASCAR Cup Series car wheel to up-and-coming driver Ty Gibbs. The grandson of JGR owner and founder and NASCAR Hall of Famer Joe Gibbs, Ty had been a name long considered for the spot after rumors began to swirl that the team wouldn’t renew its contract with longtime driver Kyle Busch, who announced his move to Richard Petty Racing in September.
— Joe Gibbs Racing (@JoeGibbsRacing) November 15, 2022
Ty will join a four-car lineup that includes Christopher Bell, Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. Although he is the grandson of the team owner, Ty has proven he belongs in the Cup Series given his strong resume.
In just 51 career Xfinity Series starts, Ty won 11 races, had 33 top-10 finishes and led 1,234 laps. This helped the young star become the Xfinity Series champion as he secured the title with a victory at Phoenix Raceway on Nov. 5. This was the second consecutive championship for Ty as he won the Xfinity Series in his first full season at the level having previously won the 2021 ARCA Menards Series, winning 10 of the 20 races during the year.
While the decision to elevate Ty to the Cup Car is not a surprise to many NASCAR fans, the news that he will drive the No. 54 car, not the No. 18 car previously driven by Busch, is. The No. 18 car has a significant history in JGR’s legacy, being the first number for the team when it began in 1991 with Dale Jarrett at the wheel. Since that year, the No. 18 was in regular rotation in the NASCAR community and won three Cup Series championships for JGR, in 2015 and 2019 with Busch and in 2000 with Bobby Labonte.
Though Ty is no stranger to the No. 18, given its legacy in his family’s team and the fact he drove under the number during his ARCA days, he made the decision to try and forge his own legacy with his own number. The No. 54 car has not been used full-time in the Cup Series since 2003 and it has only ever won three times, most recently in 1978.
Ty has used the No. 54 over the past two seasons in the Xfinity Series. JGR announced it plans to use the No. 18 in the Cup Series in future years.
The newest full-time JGR driver is no stranger to the Cup Series either. On July 24, Ty filled in with 23XI Racing for Kurt Busch, Kyle’s older brother, who missed the remainder of the 2022 regular season after suffering concussion-like symptoms following a crash during qualifying at Pocono on July 23.
During his time in the Cup Series, Ty filled in for 15 races. His best finish came during his final race at Martinsville Speedway on Oct. 30 when he finished in 19th. He withdrew from the Cup season finale following the sudden passing of his father, Coy, who died in his sleep just hours after Ty won the Xfinity Championship.
While it remains to be seen what the future holds for the 20-year-old, it is clear that Ty will be taking the JGR into the future with a new driver and a new number.