AVONDALE, Ariz. (AP) – Coy Gibbs, vice president of Joe Gibbs Racing for his NFL and NASCAR Hall of Fame father, died Sunday morning hours after his son won the Xfinity Series championship. He was 49 years old.
“It is with great sadness that Joe Gibbs Racing can confirm that Coy Gibbs (co-owner) passed away last night in his sleep with the Lord. The family appreciates all thoughts and prayers and requests privacy at this time,” the team said in a statement issued shortly before The start of the NASCAR season has been released.
Joe Gibbs lost both his sons. JD Gibbs died of a degenerative neurological disease in 2019 and was also 49 years old at the time of his death. Coy Gibbs succeeded his older brother as vice chairman of the NASCAR family organization.
“We are heartbroken by the tragic loss of Coy Gibbs. On behalf of the French family and all of NASCAR, I extend my deepest condolences to Joe, Pat, Heather, the Gibbs family and everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing on the loss of Coy, a true friend and racer,” said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Jim Francia.
NASCAR held a moment of silence for Coy Gibbs before the start of Sunday’s Cup Championship at Phoenix Raceway, where JGR’s Christopher Bell will battle for the title. In his final race after 15 years with the team, Kyle Busch cried on pit road before the start of the race.
“Today we will do what we don’t want to do, but we will unite as a family and race for the name on our chest.” JGR driver Denny Hamlin tweeted.
Ty Gibbs was scheduled to drive the No. 23 for 23XI Racing, but was replaced by Daniel Hemrick for what 23XI called a “family emergency.” Jackson Gibbs, son of the late JD Gibbs, was on Bell’s pit crew on Sunday, working the race.
Coy Gibbs had a hectic week with his 20-year-old son. who won the Xfinity title on Saturday and is expected to soon be named Kyle Busch’s replacement at JGR.
But Ty Gibbs has come under fire for aggressive driving this year, pushing teammate Brandon Jones out of the lead at Martinsville Speedway in the final lap last week. Jones needed to win the race to clinch the Xfinity championship, and JGR and Toyota would have had two cars in the final if Gibbs had only finished second.
“Color is a family and the relationships throughout the garage run much deeper than competing on the track. Today we lost a dear part of our family. The loss of Coy Gibbs is devastating for everyone at Toyota and TRD,” said David Wilson, President of Toyota Racing Development.
On Saturday, shortly before Ty Gibbs clinched his title, Hamlin said it had been a tough week at JGR. After the fall of Ty Gibbs, he tweeted that Jones “I miss JD” and explained that he was in JGR’s atmosphere at JGR created by JD Gibbs, which he called “a tight family unit”.
“We really have to treat (the teammates) like they’re our brothers and our family, and I think sometimes at JGR, we probably work with each other less than any other team, and that’s just the facts,” he said. “I’m not saying it’s anybody’s fault, but JD was just different because he really wrapped his arms around everybody. I said to Coy, ‘JD was my father.’ When I came into the series, he really was my father. was, so when you lose that, it changes the culture a little bit, and we have to get it back.”
Days after Martinsville, Joe Gibbs and Coy Gibbs defended their young driver, who was heavily vilified after back-to-back victories at Martinsville and Phoenix. Ty Gibbs made his apology tour before stopping Noah Gragson for the championship.
“Prayers to the Gibbs Family” Gragson wrote on Twitterwho had an open feud with Ty Gibbs for most of the Xfinity season before congratulating him after Saturday’s title.
Coy Gibbs played linebacker at Stanford from 1991-94 and served as a quality control assistant during his father’s second stint as Washington’s NFL coach. Gibbs had a short racing career, including two years in the NASCAR Busch Series and three years in the NASCAR Truck Series before helping his father start Joe Gibbs Motocross in 2007.
Coy Gibbs was born in Fayetteville, Arkansas and lives in Cornelius, North Carolina with his wife Heather and four children.