NASCAR: Ty Gibbs Finishes 18th in Surprise Cup Series Debut at Pocono Raceway

by Jonathan Howard

Before the start of today’s NASCAR M&M’s Fan Appreciation 400, Ty Gibbs was thrust into the spotlight and suited up for 23XI in place of Kurt Busch. Due to a concussion, Busch was out of the race. Gibbs got the call-up and made the most of it. Starting in the back due to the fact the team was driving a backup car and driver – he had to learn on the go. Zero Next Gen car laps before today.

On those first few laps, he started to get a feel for things. Then, he started to move up. He had a good car and no pressure. No one expected anything of him. It’s a surprise debut for a driver that might not even race in the Cup Series next season.

Throughout the race, Ty Gibbs wasn’t the best driver. But, he showed that he can drive anything you put him in. Throughout the Tricky Triangle, he raced fast and hard. His efforts earned him a P18 finish.

He talked before the race about being disciplined and just going out and doing what he needs to do.

After the race, he was humble and thankful for the chance he got in the No. 45.

“It was a learning day I felt like I learned a lot. I’m very thankful. It was close to almost a top-15 [finish]. It was fun racing with Brad. Never thought I’d race with these guys. Just cool being next to him on the track. So, to 10-year-old Ty, that means a lot. I don’t think I would ever expect that.”

The first of what will likely be many Cup Series starts for Ty Gibbs in his still very young career.

Ty Gibbs Makes Debut, Denny Hamlin Makes History

UPDATE: Denny Hamlin was later disqualified after failing post-race tech. Kyle Busch was also disqualified and NASCAR named Chase Elliott, the third-place finisher, as the winner.

While Gibbs was able to make his own personal history with his debut, Denny Hamlin made NASCAR history today. His win today marked his third of the season and his seventh Cup Series win at Pocono all-time. He has now passed Jeff Gordon and is the winningest driver ever at the Tricky Triangle.

Going into the weekend, that was the big question. Can Hamlin do it again on the track that has been so kind to him for so long? While Gibbs was getting his footing in the thick of things, Hamlin was racing fast and out front for a lot of this race. Pit stop strategies and some kind and opportune caution flags made the way for this win.

Oh, and he got to dump Ross Chastain from the track finally.

Ty Gibbs was able to break the seal today and get some Next Gen laps. While he won’t be a full-time Cup Series driver for (likely) another year or two – it can’t hurt to get some real experience on the track in these new cars.