Race Weekend Central

NASCAR Community Reacts to Coy Gibbs’ Death

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.

 

Gibbs had just seen son Ty Gibbs win the NASCAR Xfinity Series championship the night before, taking traditional photos with the trophy afterward.

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.

JGR drivers were visibly emotional on pit road prior to the race, and the longest-tenured pair at the team, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch, both tweeted in response to the news.

The entire NBC broadcasting booth — Dale Earnhardt Jr., Rick Allen and Jeff Burton, as well as the absent Steve Letarte, all extended their condolences, as did both Brad and Brian Keselowski.

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.

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.

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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