On the Sunday morning of NASCAR’s season finale to crown a 2022 Cup Series champion, an unusual notice went out stating that Ty Gibbs, newly crowned Xfinity Series titleholder, was relinquishing his seat in the No. 23 23XI Racing Toyota for Sunday’s championship race, due to family issues.
Daniel Hemric, the 2021 Xfinity Series champion with Joe Gibbs Racing, was designated as the driver of the No. 23 car by 23XI Racing shortly before it was time to grid the 36 cars entered in the Championship race at Phoenix Raceway.
Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) together with the Gibbs family and Toyota Racing concurrently announced that former NASCAR driver and current JGR co-owner Coy Gibbs, Joe Gibbs’ son, had died in his sleep,
Gibbs, 49, served as vice chairman and chief operating officer at JGR. He was at Phoenix Raceway, where the NASCAR Cup Series, Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series finales are held, on Saturday to watch as son Ty claimed his first championship, but left to return to his home to Huntersville, North Carolina later in the day.
“It is with great sorrow that Joe Gibbs Racing confirms that Coy Gibbs (co-owner) went to be with the Lord in his sleep last night,” the team’s noon statement read. “The family appreciates all the thoughts and prayers and asks for privacy at this time.”
Coy Gibbs worked with his father at JGR and, prior to that was an assistant coach with the Washington football team his father successfully coached to three Super Bowl victories. When the older Gibbs found his post-football footing in motorsports, both Coy and his late brother J.D., who passed in 2019 after a long battle with a degenerative neurological disease (also at age 49) came with him to NASCAR racing.
Speaking after his son’s ascension to the Xfinity Series championship on Saturday, Coy Gibbs did acknowledge Ty Gibbs’ bump of teammate Brandon Jones at Martinsville last week, a move that made Gibbs, but not Jones eligible for the Xfinity Series title. “I think he’s got skills and he’s determined,” Coy Gibbs said of his son. “It (the championship) definitely made me proud. He just hammered down and did his job. If he wants to do this for a living,” Coy Gibbs continued, “He’s going to learn how to do that.”
Coy Gibbs raced for his father and finished second in Xfinity Rookie of the Year standings in 2003, to David Stremme. Like his father, he was active in football. He was a recruited defender and played for Stanford’s Cardinal football team before graduating with a degree in history. When his father returned to Washington football after a short hiatus, Coy Gibbs joined him as a coach and worked in the team’s front office.
“Racing is a family and the relationships within the entire garage go so much deeper than on-track competition,” noted David Wilson, president of Toyota Racing Development (TRD). “Today we lost a dear part of our family. The loss of Coy Gibbs is devastating to everyone at Toyota and TRD. Our deepest condolences and prayers are with Joe, Pat, Heather, Ty, Case, Jett and Elle, and the entire Gibbs family and Joe Gibbs Racing family,” Wilson said.