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No NASCAR Cup win as yet, but Ty Gibbs is "right there"

It seems Ty Gibbs has been on the verge of earning his first NASCAR Cup victory for some time, but persistence may be about to pay off.

Ty Gibbs, Joe Gibbs Racing, Monster Energy Toyota Camry

Ty Gibbs, Joe Gibbs Racing, Monster Energy Toyota Camry

Photo by: David Rosenblum / NKP / Motorsport Images

The 21-year-old grandson of NASCAR and NFL Hall of Famer Joe Gibbs burst onto the NASCAR national series scene with a victory in his first Xfinity Series start in the 2021 season, the same year he won 10 races and the ARCA Menards Series championship.

Seven more Xfinity wins as well as the series championship came in 2022 before Gibbs moved full-time to the Cup Series in 2023.

His first trip to Victory Lane in Cup hasn’t happened nearly as quickly, but his progression from his rookie to sophomore season has been impressive.

Last weekend, Gibbs was one of the few drivers able to stay with three-time Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen before he was wrecked out of the race. Gibbs led 17 of the 54-lap darkness-shortened race and came away with a third place finish.

Gibbs’ weekend at the Chicago Street Course – which included a third place run in the Xfinity race – was a powerful reminder his first Cup win could come at any time.

“We had a really good weekend. I was thankful to have two great race cars to drive that my team brought me,” he said. “It’s kind of rare when you have two good cars that you can make good speed happen, too.

“I feel like we were really fast in both races. Just we were so close, super close both days. All I can ask for is a win, but we’re right there.”

Ty Gibbs, Joe Gibbs Racing, Monster Energy Toyota Camry

Ty Gibbs, Joe Gibbs Racing, Monster Energy Toyota Camry

Photo by: Rusty Jarrett / NKP / Motorsport Images

Sunday’s race was no easy task as for the second straight weekend the Cup series found itself racing both on slick and wet weather tires, which dramatically alters the racing dynamic and strategies.

“I feel like it’s kind of like a dirt track, honestly. You pick and choose your lines and see what lane is drying up and is faster, and you have to look around – which makes it fun because we don’t get to do that a whole lot,” Gibbs said.

“I really, really like that. I feel like it takes a lot of racing awareness to do that, and it’s fun just looking. You’re like, ‘Okay, that line is drying up,’ and you hit that line and you’re like, ‘Oh, I just gained two car lengths on the guy in front of me.’

“It’s really fun to have that.”

Even without a victory, Gibbs remains one of few drivers still well-positioned to make the Cup series playoffs based on points.

In a playoff position, but still winless

With six races remaining before the start of the playoffs, Gibbs and his No. 54 Toyota team are ninth in the series standings. His team-mate Martin Truex Jr. is the only other driver ranked higher in points (fifth) without a win.

Gibbs ended his rookie season 18th in the series standings with four top-five and 10 top-10 finishes and led 112 laps. Already this year, he already has five top-five and nine top-10 finishes – including a runner-up finish at Darlington – and has led 328 laps.

This Sunday’s race at Pocono Raceway is another opportunity for Gibbs to maintain his lock on his first trip to the playoffs with a strong run, or even pick up his career-first win.

He finished second twice at Pocono in both Xfinity Series starts on the 2.5-mile triangular-shaped track and fifth in his most recent Cup series start last season.

“It’s been really fun running the Cup Series, and I’ve had a great time, and just appreciative for what I get to do and thankful for what I get to do,” Gibbs said. “It’s fun.”

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