Ten days after capping off an eventful 2022 campaign with his first NASCAR Xfinity Series championship, Ty Gibbs’ racing career is set to ascend to a new level. On Tuesday, November 15, Joe Gibbs Racing announced that the 20-year-old Gibbs from Charlotte, North Carolina, will be graduating to the NASCAR Cup Series on a full-time basis while replacing two-time Cup champion Kyle Busch in the team’s fourth and final vacant seat for the upcoming racing season.
Gibbs, a grandson to team owner Joe Gibbs, will be piloting the No. 54 Toyota Camry TRD Pro, the same number he piloted to the 2022 Xfinity Series title along with 11 Xfinity career victories between 2021 and 2022. This means that the No. 18, which has been sported by JGR in the Cup circuit for the past 31 years, will not be sported by a JGR entry in NASCAR’s premier series for the 2023 season.
The announcement comes as Gibbs is coming off his competitive season to date, where he campaigned in the Xfinity Series on a full-time basis for the first time. Throughout the 33-race schedule, he achieved seven victories along with five poles, 16 top-five results, 23 top-10 results, 990 laps led and an average-finishing result of 9.2. Amid his share of run-ins and controversies both on and off the track, including some that involved his JGR Xfinity teammates, he defied the odds by capturing this year’s Xfinity title by winning the finale at Phoenix Raceway in early November while squaring off head-to-head against a trio of JR Motorsports’ competitors (Justin Allgaier, Josh Berry and Noah Gragson). Gibbs’ championship celebration, however, was quickly overshadowed with tragedy when his father and co-owner of Joe Gibbs Racing, Coy, died at age 49 overnight and hours after the title.
Prior to this past season’s Xfinity championship-winning season, Gibbs excelled in his inaugural start in the Xfinity circuit in February 2021 when he scored his first career victory at the Daytona International Speedway Road Course. He went on to win at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May, Watkins Glen International in August and at Kansas Speedway in October while making 18 starts throughout the 33-race schedule. Throughout his part-time campaign in the Xfinity Series, he also captured the 2021 ARCA Menards Series championship.
Through a total of 51 career starts in the Xfinity Series, Gibbs has achieved 11 victories, six poles, 25 top-five results, 33 top-10 results, 1,234 laps led and an average-finishing result of 9.5.
Amid his on-track success in the Xfinity circuit, Gibbs is not a stranger to the Cup Series. In mid-July, he made his first appearance in NASCAR’s premier series as an interim competitor for 23XI Racing at Pocono Raceway when the 2004 Cup Series champion Kurt Busch was sidelined due to suffering concussion-like symptoms after wrecking the day prior to race day. With Busch being sidelined for the remainder of the 2022 season and eventually from full-time competition, Gibbs ended up competing in the following 14 Cup events while also vying for the Xfinity title. Throughout his 15-race campaign in the Cup circuit, his best on-track result was a 10th-place run at Michigan International Speedway in August followed by a 13th-place run at Daytona International Speedway three races later. His average-finishing result during his part-time Cup campaign was 22.9.
Gibbs’ entrance to the Cup Series on a full-time basis comes two months after Kyle Busch, who won two Cup Series championships and 56 races throughout a 15-year run with Joe Gibbs Racing, revealed that he will be departing JGR to drive for Richard Childress Racing for the upcoming Cup season. The departure of Busch from JGR comes after a season-long turmoil with the team struggling to find a sponsor and financial stability for Busch after his initial primary partner, Mars Inc., terminated its partnership with the team and NASCAR following the 2022 season.
Gibbs is not the only one moving up to the Cup Series for next season. Chris Gayle, who led Gibbs’ to this past season’s Xfinity Series title, will also be moving up and continue to work as his crew chief. The 2023 season will mark Gayle’s return as a crew chief in NASCAR’s premier series since 2020, where he worked with Erik Jones.
In 142 appearances as a Cup crew chief, Gayle has achieved two victories between 2018 and 2019. In addition to the 2022 Xfinity title, he has also achieved 37 victories as an Xfinity crew chief.
With his plans for the upcoming season officially set, Gibbs’ first full-time campaign in the NASCAR Cup Series will commence at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for the Busch Light Clash, which will occur on February 5 at 8 p.m. ET on FOX. He will then make his first Cup points start for JGR in the 65th running of the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 19 at 2:30 p.m. ET on FOX.