Ty Gibbs is officially moving to the Cup Series.
Joe Gibbs Racing announced Tuesday that Gibbs would replace Kyle Busch in the team’s four-driver Cup Series lineup. Gibbs will drive the No. 54 car as JGR won’t field a No. 18 car in 2023. Busch drove the No. 18 from 2008-22 at JGR.
Ty Gibbs won the 2022 Xfinity Series title by winning the winner-take-all finale at Phoenix.
Gibbs won seven races in NASCAR’s No. 2 series this season and had an average finish of 9.2. He’s won 11 Xfinity races in 51 career starts and has finished in the top five in nearly half his races.
Gibbs drove 15 Cup Series races in 2022 as an injury substitute for Kurt Busch at 23XI Racing. Gibbs had just one top 10 in those 15 starts and his average finish was 23rd.
The 20-year-old grandson of Joe Gibbs had long been rumored to be Busch’s successor in the Cup Series. Busch entered 2022 in the final season of his contract and longtime sponsor M&M Mars said before the season that it wouldn’t be returning to Busch’s car. A big dollar sponsor to replace M&M Mars and keep Busch in the car never materialized and Busch started talking to other teams during the season. He announced earlier this fall that he’d drive the No. 8 car for Richard Childress Racing.
Busch won 56 Cup Series races in his 15 seasons at JGR and won the 2015 and 2019 Cup Series titles with the team.
Gibbs’ move to the Cup Series full-time comes at the end of what’s been a tumultuous and tragic span of weeks. Gibbs won the penultimate race of the season at Martinsville when he wrecked teammate Brandon Jones on the last lap for the win. Had Jones won the race, both he and Gibbs would have been racing for the title at Phoenix. Instead, Gibbs was the only JGR car among the final four drivers.
The move drew immediate scorn from many in and around NASCAR, especially given the team circumstances. Gibbs was initially defiant in the moments after his win and spent the days leading up to the Phoenix race apologizing for his actions.
And hours after he won at Phoenix to get his first NASCAR title, his father Coy Gibbs died suddenly at the age of 49. Coy Gibbs was a co-owner and executive at Joe Gibbs Racing and was heavily involved in the day-to-day operations of the race team.