Opinion: “Thank you, Grandpa,” Look at What You’ve Created

As Saturday’s Dead On Tools 250 at Martinsville featuring the NASCAR Xfinity Series came to a close, a heavily disliked and clearly entitled young driver added another chapter to his long list of unprofessional, selfish behavior. 

I’m speaking of course of Ty Gibbs. If you don’t know by now or you don’t follow the Xfinity Series, I’m one of the many writers that called him out previously for his, to quote Kevin Harvick, “chicken you know what” behavior at the same place in the Spring. That was child’s play compared to what he did Saturday.

Nice guy, well sponsored and ironically the beneficiary of Gibbs’ shenanigans in the Spring Brandon Jones was out front, fighting for his playoff life. Surely Jones was thinking he could rely on his teammate to race him the right way. Gibbs had locked himself into the Championship Four early in the race. Surely Gibbs wouldn’t junk his grandfather’s car in pursuit of a meaningless victory. Surely he’d be better than that. 

He wasn’t. Not by a long shot. 

Gibbs rammed his teammate so hard going into turn one on the final lap, he broke his own front bumper. The “move” sent Brandon Jones and his championship hopes careening into the wall. Gibbs was greeted by a race ending caution flag when he exited turn two, which made him the race winner. 

The fans, the garage area, retired drivers alike immediately voiced their displeasure with the 20 year old’s actions. The boos and chants of “thank you grandpa” were deafening. After the race Jones said he wasn’t surprised at the move and definitely didn’t think Ty regretted what he had done. Now Gibbs has painted himself into a corner. 

He has to fight 3 JRM Camaros at Phoenix for the title. He has no teammates on track that would be willing to help him when the going gets tough. He’s ostracized himself from the fanbase, and all of his peers. He’s truly a pariah now. With him heavily rumored to make the jump to the 18 Toyota in the Cup Series next season, you have to wonder if Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr. or Christopher Bell are wondering: can I trust this kid? 

All of the questions, the irreverent behavior, the strange comment he made to Sirius XM about “Jesus was hated first” falls at the feet of two people. Ty’s father Coy, is one, but this is more so on Coach Joe Gibbs. 

I’m reminded of the Spring race at Martinsville yet again when coming to this conclusion. Remember when Brandon Jones got the win and the camera panned to Joe Gibbs. The coach looked like he swallowed an old lemon. He was visibly upset with what happened to his grandson. But he should’ve manned up and pulled the young man aside then and explained that that wasn’t the way to get it done. 

He should’ve done the same this time and pulled him aside or got on the radio before Ty made hearts at the crowd, and basically danced on the grave of his teammate’s title chances. But he didn’t. 

I understand that Ty Gibbs is 20 years old. I was 20 once, and I did stupid things. But that’s no excuse for his actions. That’s no excuse for Ty being an idiot on the racetrack. I had my Dad and my Grandpa to reel me back in when I was his age. That’s what Ty Gibbs needs. 

Then again, this is the owner who has sat by and watched the greatest driver in the history of this team be relegated to DNF after DNF after DNF. There may be people who want to compare Ty Gibbs and Kyle Busch. But at least Kyle Busch never pretends to be anything he isn’t. Gibbs is out here acting like he’s some misunderstood saint while he continues to publicly sin. 

What happens next year when Gibbs runs Kyle Busch into the fence? Tags Bubba Wallace for 10th place? Turns Brad Keselowski at high speed at Talladega? Or heaven forbid he runs afoul of Kevin Harvick…or perhaps Erik Jones. 

One thing is clear: when it does happen next season – because it will – the results will be spectacular. And maybe, just maybe, Ty Gibbs will learn about accountability. 

Photo Credit to Pat, @Puffadda on Twitter

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