Ty Gibbs To Make First Darlington NASCAR Cup Series Start As Kurt Busch Recoversby Hunter Thomas August 30, 2022 0 comments
DARLINGTON, S.C. – Ty Gibbs, grandson of NASCAR car owner and former NFL coach, Joe Gibbs will make his first Darlington NASCAR Cup Series start in the Cook Out Southern 500 while Kurt Busch continues to recover from a brain injury.
Busch, driver of the 23XI Racing No. 45 Toyota was slated to compete in this year’s NASCAR Playoffs after winning at Kansas in May; however, Busch sustained a brain injury after crashing his car during qualifying at Pocono Raceway in July. For the past month, Busch has been recovering, while experiencing concussion-like symptoms. Since Pocono, Gibbs has been given the opportunity to serve as a substitute driver in Busch’s absent. Prior to this past weekend’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 at DAYTONA, it was announced that Busch withdrew his medical waiver and wouldn’t compete for the 2022 Championship.
“As much as I wanted and hoped to be able to get back in the No. 45 car to make a playoff run with our team, it’s still not the right time for me,” Busch said in a statement. “In addition to not being cleared to return to racing, I know that I am not ready to be back in the car.
“I respect the sport of NASCAR, my fellow drivers and the fans too much to take up a playoff spot if I know I can’t compete for a championship this season. The decision was not an easy one, but I know it is the right thing to do.
“I will continue to take time to heal and strengthen as I prepare to be back in the car, and will do all I can to help 23XI continue the success we have had this season.”
Since Gibbs has begun piloting the No. 45 Toyota, he has performed quite well. In his first-ever NASCAR Cup Series start at Pocono, he finished 16th. At the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course, he finished 17th and the following weekend, he earned a 10th-place finish at Michigan International Speedway. Gibbs experienced engine issues at Richmond, followed by at 26th at Watkins Glen International and a 13th-place performance at DAYTONA.
“My prayers continue to be with Kurt,” Gibbs said in a statement. “It’s tough that he’s going to miss the start of the Playoffs, but I’ll do the best job I can filling in for him as long as I’m asked to. I know Kurt will be out biggest supporter. I appreciate Michael (Jordan, car owner) and Denny (Hamlin, car owner) giving me this opportunity to fill in and hopefully we can continue to do well. As we compete for the Cup Owner’s Championship for 23Xi Racing. My thoughts are with Kurt as he recovers, and I know he will continue to do everything in his power to get better.”
Gibbs has never competed at Darlington Raceway in a NASCAR Cup Series car, but he does have two starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Last year in the spring, Gibbs finished 18th at Darlington and earlier this year in May, he won the pole and went on to finish 16th.
Luckily for Gibbs, he’ll acquire more track time as he’ll compete in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Sport Clips Haircuts VFW Help A Hero 200 on Saturday prior to Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race. So far this season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Gibbs has accumulated five wins, nine top-five and 14 top-10 finishes. He currently sits second in the standings, while competing for Joe Gibbs Racing. Despite never piloting a NASCAR Cup Series car around the track, Too Tough To Tame, Gibbs seems eager and ready for the challenge, and so far, he has lived up to the expectations.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series Sport Clips Haircuts Help A Hero 200 will broadcast live on USA and MRN on Saturday, Sept. 3 at 3 p.m. ET. The NASCAR Cup Series Cook Out Southern 500 will also broadcast live on USA and MRN at 6 p.m. ET on Sunday, Sept. 4.
Photo Credit: Hunter Thomas/TheFourthTurn.com