Coy Gibbs, the co-owner of Joe Gibbs Racing and son of team founder Joe Gibbs, suddenly passed away on Saturday, November 5, just hours after his son Ty won the NASCAR Xfinity Series championship. He was 49.
It's often tragedies like the death of Coy Gibbs, unfortunate as they are, that truly demonstrate the tight-knit nature of the NASCAR community. For racers like Christopher Bell, such tragedies show that some things are simply bigger than racing. The 27-year-old Bell, who drives the No. 20 Toyota for JGR, learned of Gibbs' death hours before taking the field for the Cup Series title race at Phoenix Raceway. He would ultimately place 10th, ending his first-ever run in the Championship 4. Still, during his post-race interview, his thoughts immediately turned to Coy Gibbs.
"Wow, wow, wow. Just from being out and then the wins at Charlotte and Martinsville and all of a sudden you wake up this morning, and you are racing for a championship, and you are happy, you are elated and then your world comes crashing down," Bell said. "Whenever you get news like that, it puts it in perspective that there is more to this than racing. The whole Gibbs family is in all of our prayers. I'm thinking of them."
"Ultimately today, the best car won the championship. He was really strong. Proud of our 20 group, though. We fought hard, and at the end of the race - the last pit stop, or what we thought was going to be the last pit stop, we were right there battling for it. I'm just proud to be in this position, proud to be at Joe Gibbs Racing and race this no. 20 car. The DeWalt Camry was - we were there, and hopefully, we can come back here next year. I feel good about where we are at, for sure. I'm hopeful that my group stays the exact same, from mechanics, engineers and obviously Adam Stevens on top of the pit box because I feel like we have a good thing going. We feel like we are right there on the brink of being there every week and being a title contender, year-in and year-out. Just really thankful to be here and very, very incredibly saddened by the news today, and I'm thinking of the Gibbs family."
Bell also sent out a tweet in the wake of Gibbs' death, which echoed the sentiments of countless drivers and members of the NASCAR community.
"Congrats to Joey Logano and the 22 team," Bell wrote. "They were the class of the field and deserving champions. Right now my focus is being with my Joe Gibbs Racing family and trying to process the news of Coy's passing. We are all so heartbroken."
Congrats to @joeylogano and the 22 team. They were the class of the field and deserving champions. Right now my focus is being with my @JoeGibbsRacing family and trying to process the news of Coy?s passing. We are all so heartbroken.
— Christopher Bell (@CBellRacing) November 7, 2022
Words can?t describe this day. Today was already going to be tough enough but it?s even more gut wrenching now. Heartbroken.
— Kyle Busch (@KyleBusch) November 6, 2022
I?m heartbroken. Coy was always so kind and genuine to me and just a great man. Our prayers are with the Gibbs family! https://t.co/0wdErdI02R
— Ty Dillon (@tydillon) November 7, 2022
My heart breaks for Joe, Pat, Heather and all the Gibbs family. Prayers ? https://t.co/N176x5Ybny
— Kyle Petty (@kylepetty) November 6, 2022
Coy Gibbs was always friendly to me. Often when there was something controversial or sensitive or personnel related, Coy would say he couldn't talk to me b/c he would have to lie when answering some of the questions and he didn't want to lie to me. He said it with a grin. RIP.
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) November 6, 2022
Just like his Super Bowl champion father, Coy Gibbs started in football before making the jump to racing, playing linebacker at Stanford from 1991 to 1994 (he would go on to serve assistant coach for the Washington NFL team from 2004 to 2007 under his father). Gibbs ran in the NASCAR Truck Series from 2000-2002, racking up 21 top-10 finishes out of 58 races. From 2002-2003, Gibbs also ran 39 races in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, earning two top-10 finishes. Aside from working as co-owner of JGR, Gibbs also formed Joe Gibbs Racing Motocross in 2007, which competed in the AMA motocross and supercross championships
This is not the first major tragedy that has struck the Gibbs family in recent years. In 2019, Coy's older brother J.D. Gibbs passed away from a neurological condition, also at the age of 49.
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