NASCAR: Has Ty Gibbs cemented his reputation?

Sam Mayer, JR Motorsports, Ty Gibbs, Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)
Sam Mayer, JR Motorsports, Ty Gibbs, Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images) /

Ty Gibbs has risen up the NASCAR ranks in a short time, but he has started to earn a reputation for his driving and name, leaving himself a short leash.

Ty Gibbs’s NASCAR debut was one that couldn’t have gone unnoticed. Debuting in the Xfinity Series in February 2021, he held off reigning series champion Austin Cindric at the Daytona International Speedway road course. But while a promising debut put Gibbs on the map, criticism followed quickly.

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For starters, Gibbs was running a part-time schedule in the “star car” for grandfather Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing. The #54 Toyota saw a number of drivers head to victory lane in 2022, so the quality vs. quantity argument in terms of his wins arose.

Secondly, his last name has created a need for him to combat the argument of nepotism when he arrives to the race track.

But his driving style has seemingly cemented his reputation far beyond the car or team he drives for.

Already, the Charlotte, North Carolina native’s first full-time season in the Xfinity Series has resulted in conflict on and off the track with fellow young competitors and veterans of the sport.

It started with RSS Racing’s Ryan Sieg, whom Gibbs wrecked out early at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, resulting in a failed retaliation from Sieg. Gibbs went on to win.

Next came teammate John Hunter Nemechek. Gibbs overdrove the last corner on the final lap of Richmond Raceway, moving Nemechek up the track. While Gibbs explained that Nemechek owes him one back, it didn’t combat the reputation Gibbs had started to earn.

Both instances, however, were swept under the rug this past weekend when Gibbs found himself in a fist fight with JR Motorsports’ Sam Mayer. Both battling for the “Dash 4 Cash”, Mayer and Gibbs collided on the last corner of the final lap.

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Now, with veterans, teammates and rising stars all having a history with Gibbs in a short amount of time, the ability to come back from his reputation may be difficult for the 19-year-old. While it won’t take away from his success, nor his inevitable rise to the Cup Series, he may have already found himself as NASCAR’s public enemy number one.