After Joe Gibbs Racing announced Sunday (Nov. 6) ahead of the NASCAR Cup Series’ championship race at Phoenix Raceway that the team’s co-owner, Vice Chairman and COO Coy Gibbs, had passed away, an outpouring of condolences and support came flooding in from the NASCAR community.
Coy Gibbs was the son of team owner Joe Gibbs and a former driver in NASCAR’s national touring series.
His nephew Jackson elected to remain the front tire changer for Christopher Bell‘s championship-contending No. 20 team, albeit with a couple pieces of tape on the back and a tribute written on them.
Jackson Gibbs, the nephew of Coy Gibbs, is still changing tires for Christopher Bell today. Here's his helmet for today's race: pic.twitter.com/Q6aC0fgwrs
— Clara Goodwin (@ClaraGoodwinTV) November 6, 2022
It is with great sorrow that Joe Gibbs Racing confirms that Coy Gibbs (co-owner) went to be with the Lord in his sleep last night. The family appreciates all the thoughts and prayers and asks for privacy at this time.
— Joe Gibbs Racing (@JoeGibbsRacing) November 6, 2022
Gibbs had just seen son Ty Gibbs win the NASCAR Xfinity Series championship the night before, taking traditional photos with the trophy afterward.
Hard to fathom that this picture was taken just last night. RIP Coy Gibbs. pic.twitter.com/AHuuoEGqiA
— Davey Segal (@DaveyCenter) November 6, 2022
Prior to the race, the NBC broadcast reacted to Gibbs’ passing with both an in-memoriam graphic and a moment of silence during pre-race ceremonies. Hosts Marty Snider, Kyle Petty, Dale Jarrett and Brad Daugherty all discussed the tragedy on-air while NASCAR chairman Jim France made a statement as well.
The racing world reacts to the unfortunate news of Coy Gibbs’ passing.
Gibbs, father of Ty Gibbs, died at the age of 49. pic.twitter.com/AO3Capy3Io
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) November 6, 2022
A moment of silence in honor of Coy Gibbs is held at Phoenix Raceway. pic.twitter.com/OeXHBMG71O
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) November 6, 2022
#NASCAR Chairman Jim France
“We are heartbroken by the tragic loss of Coy Gibbs. On behalf of the France Family and all of NASCAR, I extend my deepest condolences to Joe, Pat, Heather, the Gibbs family and everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing on the loss of Coy, a true friend and racer”
— Dustin Long (@dustinlong) November 6, 2022
Heart breaking news about loss of Coy Gibbs last night in his sleep. Seeing @JoeGibbsRacing drivers crying on grid pre race is hard. The #NASCAR family pulls together in times like this. So hard to understand such a tragedy ..thinking of Joe Gibbs and Ty Gibbs at this time. pic.twitter.com/YQJzIG95yS
— Claire B Lang (@ClaireBLang) November 6, 2022
Today we will do what we don’t want to do, but we we will unite as a family and race for the name on our chest. @JoeGibbsRacing
— Denny Hamlin (@dennyhamlin) November 6, 2022
Words can’t describe this day. Today was already going to be tough enough but it’s even more gut wrenching now. Heartbroken.
— Kyle Busch (@KyleBusch) November 6, 2022
My heart and prayers are with the Gibbs family today.
— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) November 6, 2022
— Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) November 6, 2022
Honestly can’t believe this. Can’t even imagine
— Brian Keselowski (@KeselowskiBrian) November 6, 2022
Other reactions came via Super Bowl champion quarterback Joe Theismann, who played under Joe Gibbs during his first tenure as head coach of the then-Washington Redskins. Coy Gibbs served as an assistant coach during his dad’s second stint at Washington’s helm.
Other media members, including FOX Sports’ Bob Pockrass, also shared their tributes and stories.
So sad to hear about the passing of Coach Gibbs son Coy. Robin and I send our thoughts and prayers to Coach and Pat and the family.
— Joe Theismann (@Theismann7) November 7, 2022
Coy Gibbs was always friendly to me. Often when there was something controversial or sensitive or personnel related, Coy would say he couldn't talk to me b/c he would have to lie when answering some of the questions and he didn't want to lie to me. He said it with a grin. RIP.
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) November 6, 2022
After the race, Joey Logano paid tribute to Coy Gibbs in his championship-winning interview, and Busch elaborated on who Gibbs was as a person.
“[Coy] was a lot like me,” Busch said to media members afterward. “He didn’t take any bullshit and told everybody the way it was straight to their face. Loved Coy for that and for his tenacity. He took on a huge role in filling the shoes of his brother, maybe a little more on the competition side than the business side in that respect […] [tried] to push us all to go forward and to win races and be competitive and be strong, all that. Honestly, that’s what I’ll remember most about him.
“The majority of my thoughts and prayers are with Joe and his family, everybody else — [Coy’s wife] Heather, [J.D. Gibbs’ wife] Melissa, all of them.”
Busch’s wife Samantha also shared her reaction.
— Samantha Busch (@SamanthaBusch) November 7, 2022
Bell came up short of the championship, but reflected on what Gibbs meant to the team in his interview as well.
“Your world comes crashing down,” he said on pit road after the race. “Whenever you get news like that, it definitely puts it in perspective that there’s more to this outside of racing. The whole Gibbs family is in all of our prayers. Thinking of them […] incredibly saddened by the news today.”
Bell’s crew chief Adam Stevens, involved with Joe Gibbs Racing for well over a decade in multiple capacities — primarily as a crew chief in Cup since 2015, winning two titles with Busch — discussed his thoughts after the race.
“It was beyond a shock,” he told Frontstretch. “Not a single one of us had a chance to process it. It was just ‘get through the day, just support each other,’ was the message.”
“I’m gutted, man,” Corey LaJoie said when interviewed in the garage post-race. “I’m legitimately heartbroken. Heartbroken for Ty, heartbroken for Coach [Gibbs] and I’m not even — I might’ve said five words to Coy. It wrecked me, man. I’m just thinking about Ty. He’s become a good friend.
“He went from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. He’s gonna need a lot of people to love on him, and I’m gonna be one of them.”
About the author
Adam Cheek joined Frontstretch as a contributing writer in January 2019. A 2020 graduate of VCU, he works as a producer and talent for Audacy Richmond's radio stations. In addition to motorsports journalism, Adam also covered and broadcasted numerous VCU athletics for the campus newspaper and radio station during his four years there. He's been a racing fan since the age of three, inheriting the passion from his grandfather, who raced in amateur events up and down the East Coast in the 1950s.
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