Ty Gibbs has officially been named the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series Rookie of the Year.
The 21-year-old Gibbs from Charlotte, North Carolina, capped off his rookie Cup Series season with Joe Gibbs Racing, his grandfather and championship-winning team owner Joe Gibbs’ team, in 21st place during the season-finale NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race at Phoenix Raceway on Sunday, November 5, despite starting in 11th place, but settling in 18th place in the final driver’s standings with 771 points.
Gibbs’ inaugural presence in the Cup Series occurred during the second half of the 2022 season, when he drove the No. 45 23XI Racing Toyota TRD Camry entry at Pocono Raceway in late July as an interim competitor for Kurt Busch. The move was made after Busch, the 2004 Cup Series champion, wrecked while qualifying for the main event and suffered concussion-like symptoms that would prevent him from returning for the remainder of the season and lead to his retirement. The move also occurred as Gibbs was competing on a full-time basis in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for Joe Gibbs Racing and contending for the series’ championship. Despite starting at the rear of the field due to a driver change, Gibbs finished 16th in his Cup debut.
Ultimately, Gibbs would compete in the next 14 Cup Series events of the 2022 season. He initially competed his first five events in 23XI Racing’s No. 45 entry, where he notched his first top-10 career result at Michigan International Speedway in August after finishing 10th. Once the 2022 Cup Series Playoffs commenced, 23XI Racing swapped rides from their two-driver lineup that resulted with Gibbs piloting the No. 23 entry formally piloted by Bubba Wallace, who contended for the owner’s championship in the No. 45 entry. In nine starts in the No. 23 Toyota, Gibbs recorded a 15th-place result at Darlington Raceway in September and a total of three top-20 results. He was replaced by Daniel Hemric for the season-finale event at Phoenix Raceway in November after Gibbs did not participate due to the death of his father, Coy Gibbs.
Ten days after winning the 2022 Xfinity Series title, Gibbs was officially named a Cup Series competitor for JGR as he would pilot the No. 54 Toyota TRD Camry led by Chris Gayle, who won the Xfinity title with Gibbs during the previous season. Piloting the No. 54 Toyota TRD Camry, Gibbs commenced his rookie Cup season by finishing 25th during his first Daytona 500 attempt. Four races later, he notched his first top-10 result of the season after finishing ninth at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March. He backed up his strong finish at Atlanta by finishing in the top 10 during the following three events at Circuit of the Americas, Richmond Raceway and the Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt Course before finishing no higher than 13th during his next nine starts. Despite achieving his first two top-five career finishes of fifth place, a total of six top-15 results in an eight-race span from July to August and remaining in contention to make the 2023 Cup Series Playoffs, a late multi-car wreck and a 35th-place result in the regular-season finale at Daytona in August derailed Gibbs’ hopes of making his first appearance in the Playoffs as a title contender.
With his Playoffs hopes for this season evaporated, Gibbs commenced the 2023 Playoffs with respective finishes of 21st and 14th before notching a strong performance at Bristol Motor Speedway during the Playoff’s Round of 16 finale, where he led 102 of 500 laps and settled in fifth place. Two races later, he notched a career-best fourth-place result during the Round of 12 finale at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course. He then recorded respective finishes of 34th, seventh and 18th throughout the Round of 8 before capping off his rookie Cup season in 21st place during the season-finale event at Phoenix.
With his accomplishment, Gibbs became the fourth different competitor while driving for Joe Gibbs Racing to achieve a Cup rookie title, a feat that includes Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano. He also became the fourth different competitor from North Carolina to achieve a Cup rookie title within the previous six seasons and the first Toyota competitor to win the rookie title since Erik Jones made the last accomplishment in 2017. Gibbs is also the first competitor to win the Cup rookie title a year after winning the Xfinity title since William Byron made the last accomplishment from 2017-18.
Gibbs’ lone rival for this year’s Cup rookie title was Noah Gragson, who competed in 21 of the first 22-scheduled events for Legacy Motor Club before he was suspended indefinitely from NASCAR competition and released by LMC in early August for violating a section highlighting member conduct within NASCAR’s rulebook.
With the completion of his first full-time campaign in NASCAR’s premier series, Gibbs is set to return for a second Cup Series stint in 2024 with Joe Gibbs Racing as he will continue to compete alongside teammates Christopher Bell, Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr.
The NASCAR Cup Series competitors and teams enter an off-season period before returning to action at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for the Busch Light Clash on February 4, 2024, with the event’s broadcast time to occur at 8 p.m. ET on FOX. This event will be followed by the 66th annual running of the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway, which will occur on February 18, 2024, and officially commence a new season of Cup Series competition. The Daytona 500’s broadcast time is slated to occur at 2:30 p.m. ET on FOX.