Ty Gibbs did not run every race on the 2020 ARCA Menards Series schedule, but he still led all drivers in wins with six. For 2021, not only will he move to a full-time ARCA schedule, but he will also begin dabbling in NASCAR. On Tuesday, Joe Gibbs Racing announced he will make his NASCAR Xfinity Series début on the Daytona road course in the #54 Toyota Supra.
The grandson of the JGR owner and son of former NASCAR driver Coy Gibbs, the youngest Gibbs scored six victories, twelve top-five finishes, fourteen top tens, and a series-high five poles in sixteen of twenty ARCA starts in 2020. Gibbs has raced in ARCA since 2019, a year that saw him win two races.
His 2020 season also featured a runner-up finish in the ARCA Menards Series East championship with a win at Toledo. Besides a late-race wreck in the Dover event where he led 104 of 125 laps after starting on the pole, he has finished in the top five in all twelve of his ARCA Est starts with two wins. Gibbs also won in his ARCA West debut at Phoenix in 2019, followed by a second-place finish in the following year’s edition.
“I’m pumped to run the full season in the ARCA Menards Series,” Gibbs said. “Mark (McFarland, crew chief) has put together an amazing team that gives me a chance to be successful every week.”
In addition to his ARCA schedule, Gibbs’ Xfinity slate—even if not full time—will be enough to qualify him for Rookie of the Year eligibility. Ryan Vargas, Jordan Anderson, and Jade Buford will be among the other ROTY contenders. While Gibbs bypasses the Camping World Truck Series, it is not a necessary rung in the stock car ladder for drivers to climb.
Gibbs is no stranger to the Daytona road course, which returns to the Xfinity schedule as the second race of the season. When ARCA visited the layout last August, he led 19 of 28 laps—including every lap before the halftime break—and finished second behind Michael Self.
A driver for the season opener on the Daytona oval was not revealed, but Gibbs will share the #54 with JGR’s Cup Series drivers Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, and Martin Truex Jr. Busch’s appearance on the #54 driver roster comes with no surprise as the winningest driver in Xfinity Series history who races as many lower series races as allowed, while Hamlin usually and exclusively runs the Darlington race in the fall (though there are two Darlington rounds for 2021). On the other hand, Truex has not raced in the Xfinity Series since 2010; the 2004 and 2005 champion has only run nineteen races in the series since moving up to Cup in 2006. JGR’s fourth Cup driver Christopher Bell has not raced in the Xfinity or Truck Series since becoming a Cup driver in 2020.
The JGR #54 has commonly served as the team’s “all-star” car for their Cup drivers and other names. Brandon Jones, Harrison Burton, and team newcomer Daniel Hemric will run the full Xfinity schedule.
“I’m also really excited to have the opportunity to work with (crew chief) Chris Gayle to make my debut in the Xfinity Series,” Gibbs added. “I can’t imagine a better situation for me to learn and be able to compare notes, not only with my Series’ teammates like Brandon, Harrison, and Daniel, but also veterans like Kyle, Denny and Martin who I will share the car with.”