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Ty Gibbs’ Daytona victory marks unprecedented territory

Ty Gibbs won last Saturday’s (Feb. 20) Super Start Batteries 188 at the Daytona International Speedway Road Course, fending off Austin Cindric in double overtime around the 3.61-mile course. The win came in the 18-year-old’s NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) debut, being just the sixth driver in NASCAR history to ever accomplish this feat.

Gibbs poses with the trophy in Daytona’s victory lane following the 56-lap race on Saturday. (Picture Credit: Chris Graythen, Getty Images/NASCAR Media)

He led 14 laps and won the second stage for the win. On the final overtime restart he lined up in the fifth position behind Jeb Burton and Andy Lally on the bottom lane. Gibbs dove into the opening corner on Burton and teammate Brandon Jones and cut across the grass in the corner that splits the racing surface and the exit of pit lane. Miraculously, his Toyota Supra was undamaged through the off-road squirmish and took the lead from Burton by the exit of turn three.

The win puts Gibbs on the same stat as Dale Earnhardt, Joe Ruttman, Ricky Rudd, Terry Labonte and Kurt Busch to win on debut. However, all the previous drivers had extensive careers in the NASCAR Cup Series or the Sportsman Division (which essentially formed into what we know today as the Xfinity Series) beforehand. Gibbs’ win Saturday came in his first ever National Touring start.

Joe Gibbs Racing (JRG) determined on Tuesday that he’ll make 14 additional starts in the series, driving the now-iconic Monster Energy No. 54 Supra for his grandfather. His slate of remaining NXS races this season consist of nearly circuit type on the schedule, including six of the seven road course races this season.

Phoenix Raceway (Mar. 13), Martinsville Speedway (Apr. 9), Darlington Raceway (May 8), Dover International Speedway (May 15), Charlotte Motor Speedway (May 29), the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (June 5), Pocono Raceway (June 27), Road America (July 3), Watkins Glen International (Aug. 7), Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course (Aug. 14), Michigan International Speedway (Aug. 21), Richmond Raceway (Sept. 11), Charlotte’s ROVAL (Oct. 9) and Kansas Speedway (Oct. 23) make up the rest of his 15-race rookie season.

JGR appears to commit a full-time effort for the No. 54 this season, a fourth full-time entry in addition to the full season drivers of Daniel Hemric (No. 18), Brandon Jones (No. 19) and Harrison Burton (No. 20). Ty Dillon, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. are set to drive the fourth entry in select races.

As a full-time competitor in the ARCA Menards Series, Gibbs won’t contest the NASCAR Playoffs this year. He already has his sights set on the ARCA National Championship in which he sits fourth in standings after just the opening event of the 20-race campaign.

Gibbs is signed up on the Sunoco Rookie of the Year (ROTY) roster for this 2021 NXS season and currently leads the ROTY standings with his win, despite missing the opening round of the season.

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