Ty Gibbs reflective after debut NASCAR Cup season: ‘I wanted to run a lot better’

Ty Gibbs speaks to media members ahead of the 2023 NASCAR Awards in Nashville.
Chris Graythen
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NASHVILLE — Ty Gibbs showed up at the NASCAR Awards Banquet smiling and ready to receive his 2023 NASCAR Cup Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year trophy. But the former NASCAR Xfinity Series champion said he was not absolutely satisfied with this first full-season run, even if he had plenty of which to be proud.

Gibbs earned the first top-five and top-10 finishes of his Cup Series career — posting four top fives and 10 top 10s over the 36-race season in the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. He led 112 laps, including 102 laps in the fall Bristol night race where he finished fifth. His top finish was fourth place at the Charlotte Motor Speedway road course.

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“Statistically, yes (he was happy), but I feel like I wanted to run a lot better, of course, and I’m working really hard,” Gibbs said. “The one thing I can take away from my (Xfinity Series) championship (last year) and all the other championships is to enjoy the journey, and I am.

“And I’m working hard. Getting better every weekend is the main goal, and I feel like I accomplished that, so I’m happy with that.”

The 21-year-old grandson of team owner Joe Gibbs said he learned many lessons throughout the season, primarily that patience is essential in racing, no matter how counterintuitive that may sound.

“You learn over time and the way Cup Series is now, there are not as many crazy moves going on as there were in Xfinity Series,” Gibbs said, allowing a smile.

“I’m not worried about showing others what I’m doing. I think for me, I’m just trying to do the best I can and when I can do that it shows others,” Gibbs added. “It’s a fine line. You can’t race to make everybody else happy, but at the same time, if you do everything right and calculate everything right and are patient, usually it pays off.

“For me, like this year, even if I wasn’t running as well, I’m still trying to figure out what I have to do to run better and win and that’s the same it will be for next year and until I retire. For me, it’s working hard during the week, having fun, but really learning where I can get better at. I want to win every week if I could, and I want to win championships, too. I feel like it’s been the same motto for me since I’ve been in ARCA and Xfinity; it was how I was raised.”