Gibbs’ consistency bringing breakthrough win closer, says crew chief Gayle

Ty Gibbs’ strong start to the NASCAR Cup series season is even a bit of a surprise to his crew chief.

“We couldn’t have predicted quite this level of success,” Chris Gayle (pictured above, with Gibbs) said this week on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “We wanted to get the consistency up, and we knew our end of the season (performance) … forecast a little bit better hope for the start of this year.

“We were definitely running better and had speed that was better weekly but to come out at the start of this year and be leading in all those categories and be second in points, I don’t think we thought we’d be there.”


Gibbs is second in the points standings behind teammate Martin Truex Jr. However, it’s Gibbs who leads the series in top-10 finishes (five), while his three top-five finishes are also a series best (shared with Ryan Blaney, Christopher Bell and Alex Bowman). His 7.8 average finish through six races is a series-best, too, while he’s completed 1,606 of 1,607 laps in the first six races of the season.

“It’s getting to the point where every week someone (says to) us, ‘Well that win is coming. That is going to come,’” Gayle continued. “Almost to the point, it’s become one of those good problems to have. It’s one of the things you hate hearing, but of the problems you could have that’s probably one of the ones you could have because you’re doing all the right things. You just have to eventually break through.”

Gibbs has led laps in the last three races. Phoenix Raceway and Circuit of the Americas netted third-place finishes, the closest Gibbs has come to victory lane. He also had one of the most dominant cars at Bristol Motor Speedway, leading over 137 laps in a race that came down to how a driver managed his tires.

After an unexpected start to his Cup Series career in 2022 as the substitute driver to Kurt Busch at 23XI Racing, Gibbs won Rookie of the Year honors last year and Gayle pointed to Gibbs being much more comfortable now as a sophomore and that’s translating to results.

“I think everything was new to him last year on the Cup side,” Gayle said. “Even though he’d run those races at 23XI the year before, he kind of wasn’t focusing on that. That was whatever he could do on Sundays to get experience was great but it wasn’t the focus.

“It’s a little different when you come into the Cup Series – let’s face it, the competition level, you’re not really prepared for that, no matter how good you were in the Xfinity Series. It’s just a way bigger step than most people could understand.

“There was a little of that to happen at the beginning of last year and through the first half of just getting used to what to expect, how hard you need to run, how you need to operate in practice versus the race, how to race everybody. I think that’s the big difference he started to show at the end of last year in the playoffs. But really, this year has taken it to another level. He’s really comfortable and not trying too hard.”

Gayle doesn’t see Gibbs driving harder than he needs to or trying to make the car go faster than it’s capable.

“He’s done a great job of just being himself, taking what the car gives him, not being in too big a hurry to do anything,” Gayle said, “and it’s worked out well for him.”

Story originally appeared on Racer