Ty Gibbs taking the rough with the smooth in a season trending up

Joe Gibbs Racing wheelman Ty Gibbs guided his No. 54 Monster Energy Camry XSE to a third-place finish in the NASCAR Cup Series race through the streets of downtown Chicago. The wild nature of the event still left him enthused days afterward.

“Dude, it was crazy,” said Gibbs from the Joe Gibbs Racing shop on Wednesday afternoon. “Chicago was really fun. I really liked that track. It was something else and I really loved it. My car was really fast. It was all clicking. It was all changing throughout the race. It was wet and then it was raining and got dried up. It was a lot. And the one groove was getting drier quicker. It was just all over the place and it was fun to keep up with the track and to experience the way that track changed. I really liked that and you don’t really get that all that much in asphalt racing.”

The wild and woolly nature the Chicago street course just made it all the more fun for Gibbs. John Harrelson/Motorsport Images


Performing double duty in Chicago, Gibbs also  competed in Saturday’s Xfinity Series race, where he placed third. The strong run has Gibbs brimming with excitement about the performance of both the Cup and Xfinity Series cars the Gibbs organization has been building for him.

“They’ve been great,” said Gibbs. “They’ve been working really hard on getting me set up correctly. It’s really important to have that and the team has really been after it and getting me right with it all.”

Gibbs emphasized that he delights in running in both the Cup and Xfinity events, as the seat time and collective experience has been significant in his growth trajectory as a racer.

“I really like it because it allows me to adapt really quickly and it’s more time on the racetrack,” explained the 21 year-old. “It was especially good in Chicago. I got to work my way up to it all. The track was so hard and difficult and so sketchy and treacherous. It’s fun to race both cars and it helps a lot. I love it — it’s so much fun and I learn so much. I mean, I like Cup. That’s my main focus. Xfinity is fun to get back in the car and mess around.”

Currently ninth in Cup regular season points, as well as 14th in the playoff standings, Gibbs has been highly competitive all year long.

“I’m racing with some of the best drivers in the world, so I feel like I’m just some 21-year-old kid that somehow got into the Cup Series. So to be able to race these guys is cool and to be able to compete for wins has been really fun,” he said. “I’m very blessed, for sure. I try to keep it really humble. I just try to make the best of it and keep working hard.”

Gibbs has also worked on taking what race day gives him.

“I think it’s taking what you get each weekend and then not hyper focusing on a bad weekend. I want to just chill-out and have a good time and be thankful for what we get to do,” he said. “I mean, we are so blessed. We get to what we love for a living. What a career to have. And the team has been great. For sure there are a lot of factors involved in what we do. There is a lot of stuff that goes into it to where we are able to go out there and win. We’ve been really close and once we win, we won’t have to worry about any of that stuff. That’s the main thing. We’ve been really strong. We’ll keep working at it and see what it gives us. We just have to finish it off.

“I think experience is the most important thing with all of this,” continued Gibbs. “I think I’d be selfish to name one thing that I’m working on. It’s the experience that’s so important, especially in the Cup Series. Having time on the track and just experiencing the way it changes, it’s just so important to have that. It’s everything. Getting more experience, getting older and getting wiser with it is the biggest thing for me.”

Competing in an astonishingly competitive era of Cup racing where finding an edge over the other 35 cars on the grid is as tall an order as ever, Gibbs fully knows what he is up against.

“You just have to do everything the best you can,” he said. “Like getting the best sleep, eating the right way, working out, staying in shape, your mental side. That’s what it comes down to because it’s so tight. For me, I feel like I’m happy now. I want to keep working really hard and putting the hours in and the stuff will come to me eventually. That’s what I’ve gotten to learn and see in my career. I want to just keep having fun and to keep doing the right thing.”

Before beginning to pack up his bags for this weekend’s Pocono Raceway Cup race, Gibbs spoke about his recent experience of climbing into a McLaren M19A Formula 1 car of the early 1970s. Gibbs — a massive fan of all forms of motorsport — was thrilled with the opportunity.

“That was sick,” enthused Gibbs. “It was a pleasure to drive it. I don’t think it had been driven in 40 years. It felt good. It felt way better than I thought it was going to feel. I mean, it felt pretty racy, honestly. The car is 40 years old and feels that good? That’s pretty badass.”

Story originally appeared on Racer