Noah Gragson vs. Ty Gibbs – A Look Into the Future of NASCAR at Talladega Superspeedway

by Jonathan Howard
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(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

With the news that Noah Gragson will drive the No. 48 this weekend at Talladega in the NASCAR Cup Series, we’ll see a battle with Ty Gibbs like we haven’t seen before. Now, these two young drivers have battled it out in the Xfinity Series and lately in the Cup Series. This weekend is different.

The differences are few, but they make a major difference. Noah Gragson and Ty Gibbs are the two brightest young stars in the Xfinity Series, no doubt. They have the wins, the starts, the experience, and they are just getting started. For Gibbs, he was thrust into the Cup Series to replace Kurt Busch following concussion symptoms. Now, Gragson will do the same for Alex Bowman.

The legacy driver Gibbs and the beer shotgunning bad boy of NASCAR, Gragson. A storybook rivalry.

Noah Gragson and Ty Gibbs in the Cup Series

What all of this really means, and the biggest difference heading into Talladega – with Gibbs in the No. 23 Toyota Camry TRD and Gragson in the No. 48 Chevy Camaro ZL1 this is the first time we will get both drivers in top-tier equipment. Gragson with Hendrick and Gibbs with 23XI. It’s a glimpse into the future that we haven’t had in other races.

Even though Kaulig Racing has good cars and good drivers, it isn’t the same as competing for Hendrick. It just isn’t. We know what Gragson has done in that equipment, with Hendrick behind him it will be a revelation if he has a clean race.

Meanwhile, Ty Gibbs is showing that even with great equipment you can’t always find your footing. The Next Gen car is hard to drive. Gragson has 13 starts to Gibbs’ 10 in the Cup Series. In those races, Gragson has an average finish of about P24 while Gibbs has an average finish of P22. However, the Chevy driver has a higher career-best finish of P5 at Daytona.

These two have some bad blood between them as well. Their latest interaction happened at Bristol with Noah Gragson running into the rear of Ty Gibbs and putting him up into the wall and into the car of Sheldon Creed.

Just picture this kind of racing between these two but in the Cup Serie, in the Next Gen car.

Since the playoffs started, these drivers have gone at each other in the Cup Series each time out. In four races, it’s a split 2-2 as far as who has the best finish. A P34 and P35 at Kansas and Bristol hinder Gibbs a bit.

Noah Gragson and Ty Gibbs are the future of NASCAR. There is no denying that. This weekend at Talladega Superspeedway will be a glimpse of a rivalry that racing fans will get to enjoy for over a decade.

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