Ty Gibbs completed a dazzling national-series debut Saturday, scoring a victory in his first NASCAR Xfinity Series start, holding off Austin Cindric in double overtime at the Daytona International Speedway Road Course.
The 18-year-old Gibbs led 14 of 56 laps in the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Gibbs, the grandson of his Hall of Fame team owner, is an eight-time winner in the ARCA Menards Series, and Saturday marked his first NASCAR national-series start.
“You know, I can’t thank everybody right now. This is like a dream come true to me,” Gibbs said as part of his emotional celebration. “This is awesome, I can’t do burnouts, that’s one thing I cannot do at all. I just can’t thank everybody, this is just a dream come true to me. I really didn’t think I had it there. Kind of fought back and we won.”
With his win in the Super Start Batteries 188 at Daytona Presented by O’Reilly, Gibbs becomes only the sixth driver to win in his first series start – matching a feat achieved by NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt in 1982 and most recently, Kurt Busch, 15 years ago.
Gibbs becomes the youngest driver to win an NASCAR Xfinity Series road course event. At 18 years, four months, 16 days, he breaks the record held – ironically – by Cindric (20 years old).
By all measures, it was an emotional victory following an intense, exciting race on the 14-turn, 3.61-mile road course. Cindric led the most laps 29 of the 56 – but could not catch Gibbs in the end.
“I just cannot thank everybody right now, really this is like a dream come true for me, it’s just awesome,” said an emotional Gibbs, who turned his first ever laps in the car and made his first career pit stop Saturday evening.
“I really didn’t think I had it there,” he said of the intense racing at the end. “I fought back and we won.”
Gibbs teammates Daniel Hemric and Brandon Jones finished third and fourth, followed by Jeb Burton and another of the JGR family, Harrison Burton. Miguel Paludo, Brandon Brown, Justin Haley, and Jeremy Clements rounded out the top 10.
A victory for Cindric would have been his second in as many races in 2021 and he turned in an inspired drive back to the front to contend for the win. He and A.J. Allmendinger – another road course racing star – collided while running first and second heading to the Stage 1 checkered flag. Allmendinger’s car was badly damaged and he ran laps down the remainder of the race.
Cindric’s No. 22 Team Penske Ford was damaged as well, but the team made repairs and Cindric went to work. He returned to the race after multiple pit stops in 33rd place, but still on the lead lap. His road racing skills and the team’s strategy calls ultimately put him in position to contend for the win.
“Obviously I don’t want to be racing to a stage that aggressively, I’d love to see a replay and hopefully we can avoid something like that because obviously A.J. and I were going to be fighting for a win later,” Cindric said.
“I hated having that much damage to our PPG Ford Mustang that early. Just seemed like he was trying to block there, don’t know if he knew I was there or not. Sucks it’s over with and we salvaged a good finish. Congratulations to Ty.”
Gibbs grandfather, who owns the team, climbed down from the pit box and stood behind it to watch the final moments of the race. Clearly Ty Gibbs win was an emotional achievement for the entire family.
During a late race pit stop, the teenager Ty was asking his team for peanut butter crackers. An hour later, he was hoisting the biggest trophy of his young career.
“I don’t even know how to feel,” Gibbs said. “This is really hard for me to explain. After my uncle [JGR President JD Gibbs] passed away, it’s been hard for me. It’s just a dream come true. I’m just rambling. I’m excited. Mixed emotions for sure. This is just awesome.”
Of his tight-knit family, Gibbs again wiped tears.
“The family is everything to me, they do so much for me,” Gibbs said. “I just can’t thank them enough, this is just amazing; this is a dream come true. It’s all the man above, I’m sorry I’m a wreck I didn’t think this was going to happen at all. This is awesome, I can’t thank everybody enough watching and last week I had a terrible interview. I want to apologize for everybody, I just can’t thank everybody enough. This is just amazing.”
Following the second race of the season, Team Penske’s Austin Cindric holds the points lead by 24 markers over Joe Gibbs Racing’s Harrison Burton in second.
TY GIBBS, No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota Supra, Joe Gibbs Racing
How do you describe your first NASCAR Xfinity Series victory?
“You know, I can’t thank everybody right now. This is like a dream come true to me. This is awesome, I can’t do burnouts, that’s one thing I cannot do at all. I just can’t thank everybody, this is just a dream come true to me. I really didn’t think I had it there. Kind of fought back and we won. Thank you to Monster Energy and everybody, I don’t even know what’s going on.”
What do you have to say to your family?
“The family is everything to me, they do so much for me. I just can’t thank them enough, this is just amazing; this is a dream come true. It’s all the man above, I’m sorry I’m a wreck I didn’t think this was going to happen at all. This is awesome, I can’t thank everybody enough watching and last week I had a terrible interview. I want to apologize for everybody, I just can’t thank everybody enough. This is just amazing.”
How do you capture this emotion in this moment?
“I don’t even know how to feel. This is really hard for me to explain. After my uncle passed away, it’s been hard for me. It’s just a dream come true. I’m just rambling. I’m excited. Mixed emotions for sure. This is just awesome.”
Can you talk about that last restart?
“I don’t even know how I kept going. It was the man above. He’s done everything for me. He put me in this great family and in this great situation in life. I feel like I had to earn a lot of respect tonight, and I don’t think I did a too good of a job. I hit the grass and kept on rolling. I have no words. I just won at Daytona.”
Last week, you weren’t too happy after the ARCA race here. Have your thoughts changed about Daytona?
“I just want to say sorry to everyone for that. That was just a complete disgrace by me. I was just mad and rambling and just saying excuses, and I have no excuses for this. I made mistakes all night, and I don’t know how I still won. This is just amazing.”
|1||15||54||Ty Gibbs #||Monster Energy Toyota||56||Running||14|
|2||2||22||Austin Cindric||PPG Ford||56||Running||29|
|3||5||18||Daniel Hemric||Poppy Bank Toyota||56||Running||2|
|4||39||19||Brandon Jones||Menards/Barracuda Toyota||56||Running||0|
|5||3||10||Jeb Burton||State Water Heaters Chevrolet||56||Running||2|
|6||4||20||Harrison Burton||DEX Imaging Toyota||56||Running||3|
|7||35||8||Miguel Paludo||Brandt Chevrolet||56||Running||0|
|8||7||68||Brandon Brown||Jabs Construction Chevrolet||56||Running||0|
|9||29||11||Justin Haley||LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet||56||Running||0|
|10||18||51||Jeremy Clements||All South Electric Chevrolet||56||Running||0|
|11||1||2||Brett Moffitt(i)||Quartz Hill Records Chevrolet||56||Running||0|
|13||8||2||Myatt Snider||TaxSlayer Chevrolet||56||Running||0|
|15||33||1||Michael Annett||PFJ American Heart Association Chevrolet||56||Running||0|
|16||11||47||Kyle Weatherman||Picture Perfect Chevrolet||56||Running||0|
|17||22||92||Josh Williams||Alloy Employer Services/General Formulations Chevrolet||56||Running||0|
|18||19||26||Kris Wright(i)||F.N.B. Corporation Toyota||56||Running||0|
|19||10||5||Matt Mills||J.F. Electric Toyota||56||Running||0|
|20||9||7||Joe Graf Jr.||Bucked Up Energy Chevrolet||56||Running||0|
|21||30||52||Gray Gaulding||Panini America Chevrolet||56||Running||1|
|22||36||36||Alex Labbe||Globocam/Prolon Controls Chevrolet||56||Running||0|
|23||32||15||Colby Howard||Project Hope Foundation Chevrolet||56||Running||0|
|24||20||44||Tommy Joe Martins||Gilreath Farms Red Angus Chevrolet||56||Running||0|
|25||38||17||Cody Ware||Nurtec ODT Ford||56||Running||0|
|26||25||7||Justin Allgaier||Brandt Chevrolet||56||Running||0|
|27||27||39||Ryan Sieg||CMR Construction and Roofing Ford||56||Running||1|
|28||26||9||Noah Gragson||Bass Pro Shops/True Timber/BRCC Chevrolet||56||Running||0|
|29||34||61||Stephen Leicht||Janiking Toyota||56||Running||0|
|30||37||0||Jeffrey Earnhardt||Forever Lawn Chevrolet||56||Running||0|
|31||24||99||Andy Lally||Energy Air Inc. Chevrolet||55||Running||0|
|32||31||74||Bayley Currey||Covert Scouting Cameras Chevrolet||55||Running||0|
|33||23||90||Preston Pardus||Chinchor Electric Inc. Chevrolet||49||Transmission||0|
|34||17||66||Timmy Hill||Cable Enterprises Toyota||46||Running||0|
|35||6||16||AJ Allmendinger||Ellsworth Advisors Chevrolet||43||Running||4|
|36||28||48||Jade Buford||Big Machine Vodka Spiked Cooler Chevrolet||38||Suspension||0|
|37||12||6||Ryan Vargas #||The Big Squeezy Chevrolet||33||Running||0|
|38||40||13||David Starr||Whataburger Toyota||20||Transmission||0|
|39||16||98||Riley Herbst||Monster Energy Ford||15||Accident||0|
|40||21||23||Natalie Decker||Red Street Records Chevrolet||3||Accident||0|
Average Speed of Race Winner: 78.213 mph.
Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 35 Mins, 5 Secs. Margin of Victory: 1.726 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 7 for 14 laps.
Lead Changes: 11 among 8 drivers.
Lap Leaders: B. Moffitt(i) 0;A. Cindric 1-10;A. Allmendinger 11-14;A. Cindric 15-17;H. Burton 18-20;T. Gibbs 21-32;G. Gaulding 33;D. Hemric 34-35;A. Cindric 36-51;R. Sieg 52;J. Burton 53-54;T. Gibbs 55-56.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Austin Cindric 3 times for 29 laps; Ty Gibbs 2 times for 14 laps; AJ Allmendinger 1 time for 4 laps; Harrison Burton 1 time for 3 laps; Jeb Burton 1 time for 2 laps; Daniel Hemric 1 time for 2 laps; Ryan Sieg 1 time for 1 lap; Gray Gaulding 1 time for 1 lap.
Stage #1 Top Ten: 22,2,98,51,99,68,20,47,74,7
Stage #2 Top Ten: 54,20,18,11,7,22,19,2,90,51