Ty Gibbs has always been the NASCAR Cup Series driver; There’s been little doubt about that ever since he stormed the national scene with his first NASCAR Xfinity Series win last year at the Daytona International Highway track.
However, the timing of that move and its logistics were even more murky. Despite four wins at 18 Xfinity starting in 2021, Gibbs still needs a full season to really show what he’s made of, and his early success at Joe Gibbs Racing wasn’t a fluke based on the resources given to an iconic car also the Regulars Cup. .
Mission accomplished so far in 2022. Four more wins, an average finish of 10.2 and a third spot of points to enter the Indianapolis Motor Speedway track this weekend.
OK, but then there was a statement from team owner/grandfather Joe Gibbs Earlier this year That he wanted Ty in the Xfinity car for at least two years.
And the overall siege in JGR is at the cup level, ostensibly Gibbs’ final destination as well. Denny Hamlin is good until at least 2023. Martin Truex Jr. is on until next year. Christopher Bell’s status is unknown but at least he won a race. And Kyle Busch definitely wouldn’t leave JGR, right? … truly?
Fast forward this week. Bush’s whereabouts after 2022 are called into question as his team and JGR struggle to reach an agreement on a contract extension. A 15-season partnership could end after the checkered flag flies at Phoenix Raceway in November.
What’s more: Gibbs is ready to go to a trophy race. The Pocono Racecourse made it clear.
Last weekend, Gibbs made his Cup debut, replacing injured Kurt Bosch at 23XI Racing. He did so on notice hours before, and got into No. 45 as soon as Busch announced he was without medical clearance on Sunday morning, July 24.
On the surface, it may have seemed like an ill-fated effort. He crossed the 18th line at the end of the race, and rose to 16th in the record books after disqualifying Hamlin and Kyle Busch after the race. The top 20 would be a good start for most first-time drivers, but after all the hype Gibbs made, did that really raise any eyebrows?
Well that’s right. After starting at the end of the field due to a driver change, Gibbs was only in the middle of the 32nd race. But he did start climbing in the second half, rising to fourth and running close to the top ten late on before eventually coming home in 16th.
Consider this: This was done in a car that was not yet on the track due to the core team being taken out of service after the Kurt Bosch qualifying accident. And by a driver who has never ridden a Cup car, not even in test capacity.
This is no small matter. While the Next Gen Cup was somewhat the equivalent of playing space in 2022, it’s a different enough car that getting out of the Xfinity and into the first cup should have come with some growing pains, especially when the driver’s first laps are in Racing conditions are useless to practice.
Gibbs was able to discover the next generation And the Get the car towards the front within one race. By the end, he’s basically 45th in line with Busch’s average finish in 2022, which is 16.9. There is no guarantee that the Bush will be much better in Pocono that day, or much worse.
Raw talent, that’s the conclusion. Owned by Gibbs. It was supposed to thanks to the success of Xfinity, but Pocono cemented it. And with yesterday’s announcement (July 27) that he’ll be in the car at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend as well, there’s a strong chance we’ll see more Gibbs on screen, given his first Xfinity win and three of his eight series wins came in laps On the road.
So let’s get rid of Joe Gibbs’ announcement of his two-season Xfinity deal. It is not necessary. Let’s not beat around the bush any more than we already have.
The possibility of opening the No. 18 seed next year is icing on the cake. If Kyle Bush is gone after 2022, why bother putting someone else for the ride in the meantime? As far as other JGR prospects go, Brandon Jones hasn’t really made an appearance this year ever, and of Xfinity’s 18th part-timer, only Sammy Smith appears to be getting into JGR’s long-term plans. Move Gibbs up and boom, problem solved.
Unless, of course, Busch will actually return next year. What could happen! His 2023 status has gone from a possible comeback to lol-of-hell-knows in the past few days. A week from now we might be looking back at all of that speech and laughing at the thought of the idea that Busch could disappear from JGR. Silly season, all of you.
Even if that happens, JGR needs to find a way to get Gibbs into a Cup car. That could come in a well-meaning JGR Cup car, but it’s likely to be at the expense of Bell, who had a good year and doesn’t really deserve to be kicked to the curb.
Instead, JGR should at least consider an arrangement with 23XI, something that has already been created as a possibility with Gibbs filling Kurt Bosch at No. 45. Busch should theoretically return next year (unless an injury sidelined him in Ultimately the final straw for his driving career), and Bubba Wallace appears at No. 23. Should the 23XI then discover a third car, getting chartered in the process, for Gibbs to drive? As long as Toyota helps foot the bill (and it should, given Gibbs is easily the most promising prospect), sure. Hell, even if Hamlin and Michael Jordan 23XI owners have to shell out a significant amount of their own money to do so, the upside seems to be worth it.
Because Gibbs is increasingly showing that he’s ready. So why delay is inevitable? Let’s see him in next year’s Cup car.
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