Joe Gibbs Racing’s Ty Gibbs captured the Xfinity Series championship on November 5. He capped off a season that has featured a lot of criticism, and he took what Toyota described as a “great first step.”
David Wilson, Toyota Racing Development president, met with media members after the Xfinity Series championship race, and he spent a considerable amount of time talking about Gibbs’ week full of critical comments from his fellow drivers.
The driver of the No. 54 sparked criticism after wrecking teammate Brandon Jones at Martinsville Speedway, and he received an overwhelming amount of boos during driver introductions. However, he then went out and cleanly won the championship race.
“It’s obviously been a tough week,” Wilson said during a post-race press conference. “It’s been a tough week for our family — Joe Gibbs Racing, Ty. That team is part of our family. What I saw [during Media Day] from Ty was some humility and it felt to me like he spoke from his heart. It wasn’t messaged — over-messaged — and it was a good first step.
“Of course, words are one thing and ultimately your character and your reputation is defined by your actions and that will happen one race at a time, one lap at a time. Tonight, that young man drove his rear-end off, and that was one heck of a race. That was an incredible race by Ty and Justin and Noah.”
Gibbs Addressed His Actions After Winning the Race
Wilson was not the only person that talked about Gibbs’ actions at Martinsville Speedway. The driver of the No. 54 also addressed them during his post-race press conference.
Gibbs explained that he does not want to be the driver that always receives boos from the crowd. Though he acknowledged that he put himself in this position by wrecking his teammate at Martinsville, along with incidents at Texas Motor Speedway and Richmond Raceway.
“You know, what I did last week was unacceptable, and I apologize once again, but it was unacceptable because we could have had two shots to win this deal, and it was stupid from an organization standpoint. All my fault,” Gibbs said during his post-race interview with NBC.
“I can sit here and tell you I’m sorry as much as I can, but it’s not going to fix it. I’ve got to fix my actions. I felt like today I had a good race, felt like I made some good moves. Me and the [No.] 7 were racing really hard. I felt like hopefully we put on a great show for you guys, the fans, and thank you for all that you guys do.”
Wilson Sees a Path Forward for Gibbs
The win at Phoenix Raceway capped off Gibbs’ first full-time season in the Xfinity Series, and it created questions about his future. Will he move up to the Cup Series full-time and replace Kyle Busch in the No. 18 Toyota Camry?
The expectation — or assumption — is that Gibbs will indeed take over the Cup Series entry. Obviously, there will continue to be discussions about whether he is ready for the challenge and the time in the spotlight.
Wilson has no doubts. He believes that Gibbs is ready for the Cup Series and that there is nothing more he can learn in Xfinity. He also said that he sees a path forward for the 20-year-old driver.
“I don’t believe the black hat is planted firmly on his head just yet,” Wilson said during his press conference. He added that Gibbs can get to where he wants to be through his actions, his sincerity, and by learning some humility. He just has to make this choice.