LONG POND, Pa. — One year ago, Ty Gibbs made his NASCAR Cup Series debut at Pocono Raceway.
On Sunday (July 23), Gibbs scored his first career top five at the Pennsylvania track. Gibbs survived a chaotic High Point 400 to finish fifth in his Joe Gibbs Racing No. 54.
“It’s pretty cool, for sure,” Gibbs said. “It’d been better to win though.”
Last year, Gibbs was a full-time NASCAR Xfinity Series driver when he got the call to fill in for an injured Kurt Busch in the Cup race at Pocono, where he finished 16th. Busch had to miss the remainder of the 2022 season, so Gibbs filled the 23XI Racing ride for 15 of the last 16 races.
Gibbs is a rookie driving for his grandfather Joe Gibbs’ team this year. With the return to where his Cup career started last year, Gibbs noted the differences in the situation and himself.
“Definitely a lot more different for sure,” Gibbs said. “I’m in my own seat this year, so that’s nice. It’s definitely changed, just more experience.”
Entering Sunday, Gibbs had showed speed at several races, but had only closed the deal on six top 10s.
“I need to do a better job on my part,” Gibbs said. “Maybe we can be contending for wins. I feel like we’re just really solid, just gotta do a better job there. I’m really happy with my team’s efforts. Good day.”
Sunday’s race was the first time where he hit on everything from start to finish.
“I think it was really solid,” Gibbs said. “I think Dover probably would’ve been a little better, but we had fuel issues. I think we’ve been really fast, if we can just finish races.”
Gibbs started the race 11th and scored stage points in stage 2. He was just behind his dominant JGR teammates most of the day.
“Definitely had a great strategy today,” Gibbs said. “My crew chief did a great job. I felt like we kept good track position the whole time.”
The stage points plus the top-five result helped Gibbs close back in some on the playoff bubble. Gibbs was 41 points below the cut line entering Pocono. Now, he’s only 28 below the line.
The 20-year-old driver isn’t worried about points though.
“If we win, it just takes care of it all,” Gibbs said.
About the author
Michael Massie is a writer for Frontstretch. Massie, a Richmond, Va. native, has been a NASCAR superfan since childhood, when he frequented races at Richmond International Raceway. Massie is a lover of short track racing and travels around to the ones in his region. Outside of motorsports, the Virginia Tech grad can be seen cheering on his beloved Hokies.
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