Ty Gibbs. No matter what you think of him, one thing is certain. The kid is an extremely talented runner. Take last Saturday (July 2) for example.
At Road America, Gibbs came out and beat defending NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Larson on a road course, proving that his talent is not only real, but versatile. He did everything he needed to move up to the Cup Series, so with that we ask if it’s time for Joe Gibbs Racing to move Gibbs to the Cup in 2023?
Debate between Stephen Stumpf and Michael Nebbia.
wait until 2024
From the moment he won his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut, it was clear that Gibbs had Cup Series star potential.
He’s already racked up eight Xfinity wins in just 34 career starts, and he’s coming off a win at Road America where he passed Larson in the final round of overtime.
At just 19, Gibbs already has an impressive list of accolades – but that shouldn’t be the reason to rush him into the Cup just yet.
For starters, Martin Truex Jr. is returning for 2023. No. 19 was the most likely landing spot for Gibbs, but this ship sailed. The rest of the Joe Gibbs Racing lineup is also set to return next year, unless Kyle Busch can’t find a sponsor or the team decides to make a sudden driver change in the #20 car. Right now, there’s no place for Gibbs unless JGR loan him out to another team.
Second, JGR should remember what happened after he rushed one of his former Cup hopefuls.
Joey Logano was hailed as the greatest thing since sliced bread as a teenager, and he first lived up to the hype by earning his third Xfinity Series start. But after just one part-time Xfinity Series season in 2008, Logano was sent to the Cup in 2009 aged 19. Although he had two wins in four seasons, Logano struggled to find his footing and failed to live up to the high expectations that had been set. He was out of JGR after 2012, and he didn’t become a star until 2013 after a change of scenery at Team Penske.
The same story applies to Erik Jones.
He had two full seasons of experience in Xfinity and the Camping World Truck Series before moving up to the Cup, and he, too, had just two wins in his first four seasons. And just like Logano, Jones received the boot after fourth grade.
Perhaps the same story is playing out today. Bell also got a ton of hype after winning a Truck title and 16 Xfinity races over a three-year period, but this is now his third year in the Cup and he has picked up a win. To his credit, Bell was in the top 10 for most of the year; but he is still far from fighting for wins consistently.
With JGR’s homegrown talent having historically hit or miss results after being promoted to the Cup, it would be best for JGR to err on the side of caution and give Gibbs another season in Xfinity. Running Gibbs into the Cup Series at 20 would be too soon, especially when the number of 20-year-olds who make it to the Cup can be counted on one hand.
An extra year would not only give him more experience, but it would also help him mature as a pilot.
Gibbs has been involved in several incidents this season, and he made headlines for the wrong reasons after his post-race fight with Sam Mayer at Martinsville Speedway. This behavior will not sit well with Cup veterans, and Gibbs will have a few lessons to learn before taking it to the next level.
Nonetheless, the Cup talent is clearly there; it is now up to JGR to prepare for the Gibbs Cup over the next year and a half. -Stephen Stumpf
Move it up!
Look, not only does Gibbs have the gear, he has the talent to back it up.
I don’t see why he wouldn’t make the jump to the Cup!
There have been many who have made less in the Xfinity Series who have made the leap to the Cup and had successful Cup Series careers. Plus, he’s won at all types of racetracks, which really shows how good he is.
He won on 1.5 mile tracks (Charlotte Motor Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Kansas Speedway), short tracks (Richmond Raceway) and road courses (Daytona International Speedway Road Course, Watkins Glen International and Road America) . Few riders have had success on all types of tracks so early in their career. Usually versatility comes after a few years in the Cup.
Not with Gibbs.
There is a problem though: who is Joe Gibbs Racing offering to put Gibbs in a Cup car?
Truex, driver of car #19, has already announced he will be back for the 2023 season.
Christopher Bell is also under contract until 2023, as is Denny Hamlin. Presumably the only one in the hot seat is Kyle Busch, whose longtime sponsor M&Ms is retiring from the sport at the end of the season. However, removing Busch from a ride due to lack of sponsorship would be a decision the team would regret, even bringing in a talent like Gibbs.
Still, there is one organization Gibbs could go to and that’s 23XI Racing. They are a two-car operation and have a lot of growth potential with the deep pockets of team owners Michael Jordan and Hamlin.
Hamlin hinted that he wanted to make the team a major force and adding as many teams as possible to his organization would do that.
Could there be a place at 23XI Racing for Gibbs in 2023?
This is possible not only in a third car, but possibly also as a replacement for Kurt Busch. Busch was reported to have signed a multi-year deal with the organization ahead of this season, but he’s NASCAR’s longest-serving driver and it’s possible he’ll change his mind after a not-so-good season at the track.
Gibbs would be a hell of a replacement if Busch decides to hang them up after 2022. – Michel Nebbia
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