Monday, Nov 28

Transcript: Ty Gibbs Press Conference - Phoenix Raceway

THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by the 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion, Ty Gibbs. We'll get right to questions.

Q. Noah was in here earlier and he said that you raced like a champion tonight and that you deserved it. There was the handshake afterward. What was your reaction to him showing you some respect after maybe some disrespect earlier this week?

TY GIBBS: For sure, definitely a lot of disrespect, but I really respect him coming up, and I feel like I've known him a really long time. Definitely some harsh words said, but it's part of it. It's part of the path that I'm on here.

I definitely respect him. I feel like we had a lot of great racing with Noah and his teammates, as well, tonight, so thank you to him and thank you for all the kind words. Awesome to be able to be to get this championship.

Q. There was a lot of hard racing between yourself, him and Justin. What was going through your mind?

TY GIBBS: Yeah, I feel like we put on a good show. I definitely know from inside the car it felt like there was a lot going on, and hopefully the fans enjoyed that. And that's part of the Xfinity Series; names are made here. Hopefully I made one tonight, and we'll move on.

Q. In this moment where there's lots to celebrate, but there's also a lot of just tension in the air and all the things that's happened the past week, have you fully been able to embrace being able to celebrate and be in this moment? Or is it kind of having to balance both of those conflicting feelings?

TY GIBBS: Yeah, for sure, definitely have made some mistakes in the past and last weekend, but the best thing for me is to move on. And that's what I did today in my race, and we won.

Just moving on and learning from my mistakes. I can't go back and change the past; and if I could, I would. But that's the -- we can't do that, and the best thing for me is to learn from it.

But to be able to be a champion is awesome. I remember you interviewing me in late model races at South Boston and Tri-County Speedway a long time ago, so it's cool to see you.

Q. You and Layne Riggs --

TY GIBBS: Layne Riggs, Greg Marlowe, Josh Berry. Josh posted something this morning, so I reposted it from, five years ago. It's crazy that time flies that fast.

Q. Because everyone has had very harsh and I guess kind of critical things to say this last week, how do you go about now as you transition to what we think is going to be the next stage of your career, to mend some of those relationships or perceptions? Do you try to do -- do you want to interface with some of these people directly, or do you just want to let your actions kind of be the new normal?

TY GIBBS: For sure, I mean, my actions over most of it is what's going to happen. People have had a lot of harsh things to say, and that's their opinion. And some of it might be true, but I don't really -- that's what they're going to say, and I just do the best work I can, let my on-track performance show for that.

And if I made some mistakes, then I'm working hard as I can to fix them, I know I have, and that's what I'm going to do. I can't control what they say.

Q. With Noah coming up to you post-race, how much does that mean to you that a fellow competitor did come up to you and congratulate you?

TY GIBBS: Yeah, definitely really cool. I definitely didn't expect it. So it's cool to have that, and to have somebody like that show respect, it means a lot.

Q. Looking back on this week and the totality of it with a week like Martinsville, how stressful has it been on you?

TY GIBBS: It's been a lot, but I feel like going into this weekend has maximized my compartmentalizing skills to race. It was definitely a lot, and I've learned a lot and moved on, and it's cool to be a champion now.

Q. Simply how satisfying and gratifying to be battling with the JRM guys, with just respect and administration, as the drivers had mentioned, that it felt earned that you were the car to beat?

A. Yeah, really cool to be able to race them. I feel like we put on a great show, like I said, and really cool to be able to get our team a win I feel like that they deserved, our whole organization and manufacturer.

It's really cool to be able to race with them like that. And hopefully we put on a great show for the fans, and hopefully everybody enjoyed it.

Q. Looked like in one stage of the race when Noah was ahead of you and Allgaier was behind that Noah was slowing down in the corner holding you up a little bit and trying to get Allgaier to get to your bumper. Did you ever feel outnumbered out there?

TY GIBBS: I mean, we're 25 percent versus 75 percent. That's part of it, and we raced really hard, and we were on the other side of the outcome.

I'm very proud of my team's performance and what we did today. Very proud of the pit crew and everybody that was part of this whole situation.

Q. How important was it for you today to run a clean race? And if it had come down to it at the end where you were in second and had to go for a Hail Mary sort of thing to get the championship, is that something you would have had to think twice about?

TY GIBBS: Well, first of all, I don't believe in any hypotheticals, but it was very important to have a great race. And like I said, I feel like we put on a great show for everybody. We had a lot of great, clean racing and ended up on the other side of it.

Q. Dale Jr. kind of gave the message to his drivers that he wanted to race you cleanly, he wanted to win the championship the right way. Going into today's race, were you concerned at getting payback, whether it was from JRM, Jones or someone else?

TY GIBBS: Yeah, for sure. That's out of my hands, and like I said, just kept my head down and raced really hard. I respect Dale a lot, and to be able to have his nice words said to me is really cool.

Q. Having so many different experienced teammates in Cup -- Denny, Kyle, Martin -- did you lean on them throughout this week, and did they give you some advice that you kind of parlayed into the race?

TY GIBBS: For sure. I've got great teammates. Every one of them mean a lot to me, and they've helped me out a lot in my career. To be able to have our private conversations is really cool, and to end up where I'm at as a champion is awesome.

It just shows all the hard work behind this organization. And they got one more to chase tomorrow. My cousin actually is pitting on the 20, so he's going to go with his first year to the Championship 4, so I'm hoping they can get it done.

Q. Anything that you maybe heard from them that kind of played out in the race you could apply today?

TY GIBBS: Yeah, like I said, all our conversations are private, and I enjoy every one of them with all of our fellow teammates, and it means a lot to have great people there beside me.

Q. I'm sure this has been quite the roller coaster of a week with what happened at Martinsville, very tense weekdays this week, and now winning your first championship in the Xfinity Series. What do you think you'll remember the most about this time when you look back on it?

TY GIBBS: You know, just teamwork and execution and hard work and discipline and being champions. That's something to remember. It's just awesome to be a part of it and to be a part of this whole crew.

I feel like this is a special crew. I feel like crews like this don't come around that often. And to be able to do it and for me to win my championship the first year is really cool, and it means a lot. I feel like the Xfinity Series does a great job with the race, and I hope it never changes.

We'll just keep going forward, and hopefully there's more great racing and all the fans enjoy it.

Q. How much or in what ways has running Cup races this year helped you to get to this point tonight?

TY GIBBS: It helps for sure. I'm very thankful for the opportunity from Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin and everybody at 23XI. I'm very thankful for the opportunity.

I feel like it helps a good bit, but I feel like the cars are so different that it's hard to kind of really relate. I think more you get off of is race craft and stuff like that, so it's definitely helped.

Q. Given the importance of winning this race and this championship the right way tonight, were there any moments out there on the racetrack where you didn't take a risk or where you may have restrained yourself from making a move you might otherwise have done?

TY GIBBS: You know, I felt like the JRM guys, we raced really clean and really hard all day. And there's definitely times where all of us could have taken advantage of each other, but we didn't, and we raced really good.

Hopefully that puts -- I earned some respect back, and hopefully the fans enjoyed it.

Q. So much has obviously focused around what happened at Martinsville, but the stats are clear, 11 wins in 51 starts, a championship, like you said, in your first full-time season, and you're only 20 years old. How quickly do you think you can take that success up to the Cup Series, and have you had a chance to process yet or just think about all that you were able to accomplish in such a short time?

TY GIBBS: For sure, I think that comes down to hard work and dedication. I have a love for the game, for the racing, and it kind of overcomes all of the pains and struggles that comes with making mistakes in front of millions of people at 20 and learning from that.

I definitely enjoy it. And when you enjoy work like this, as everybody knows in here, when you enjoy something, you love it, and there's no motivation that comes with it.

If I need motivation for racing, then I shouldn't be doing this in the first place. I don't truly believe in motivation. It's all temporary. It's little bursts. It's what you've got.

And I love racing, so it's always everything I can do to get better -- watching film, learning how to answer you guys' hard questions, and making the right decisions.

I just enjoy the whole ride.

Q. After such a huge accomplishment like this and winning a championship, how do you go about celebrating, especially knowing you've got to be in the Cup car bright and early tomorrow?

TY GIBBS: For sure. At the end of the day, racing is more important than celebrating is, and celebrating isn't going to make me better in the race car at all. And I'm 20, so I might have another Monster and call it a night and go wake up tomorrow and go have a whole new day, one more race, last race of the year.

Q. With that, you've touched on the noise that you faced coming into the race this week a little bit. What does it mean for you as a driver to be able to kind of put your head down, stay focused on the goal at hand and come through and execute in a situation where it feels like maybe a lot of the odds were possibly against you?

TY GIBBS: For sure. I think it comes down to compartmentalizing your feelings and your team doing the same and working hard. They're always behind me, and they make the right decisions, and my pit crew does a great job.

I have an awesome manufacturer, I feel like the best manufacturer, and Toyota does such a wonderful job in all they do. And my sponsor is Monster. I have so many, Interstate, that are behind me.

Q. You mentioned how long we've known each other, and I remember in your late model days you were way more -- your interviews were a lot more natural. Even when you won the Daytona road course I remember your post-race and how --

TY GIBBS: I got all my tears out that night, that's why I didn't have any today.

Q. You were raw and authentic. We make a lot in the media about how you read your talking points now. You've had to be a little bit more guarded when it comes to your image. I'm wondering how challenging has that part of it been. Because I think you want to be authentic and natural with us, but also sometimes it comes with saying the wrong things and finding yourself in a difficult position. As you become a Cup driver, is that part of the challenge, realizing how much do you share and how all that works?

TY GIBBS: Yeah, first off, I feel like, for me, the biggest thing is all of the stuff I say comes from the heart; and if there's stuff that needs to be brought up, that needs to be said that I don't agree with, sometimes I won't agree with and won't say it.

Personally I just want to say that all the stuff I say is from my heart. There's definitely guidance; I'm 20 years old in front of millions of people that I'm getting interviewed by, and people can take that and use it as completely different way what I was trying to say.

There's a lot of that, but it just comes with learning and comes from growing up and maturing and having time and learning how to handle all you guys. You guys do a good job.

Q. You talked about maybe having another Monster then heading to bed with the Cup race tomorrow. How do you plan to actually celebrate this championship? And when will you allow yourself to really process what happened and what you did?

TY GIBBS: For sure, at the end of the day, like I said, celebrating isn't going to help me win a race tomorrow or do a great job tomorrow. We'll put that behind me. And I'm not here to celebrate; I'm here to win races. That comes along the way with it.

I have a great car, great Monster Energy 23 Jumpman Camry TRD tomorrow. It's a lot of words, guys. It's a lot of words. I'm very excited to go tomorrow and to go race, and we'll figure that one out next week.

Q. What do you think about the bling? You keep playing with it.

TY GIBBS: It's tight on my finger right now, and it's kind of -- my hand is kind of sticky, too, from the Monster, so I'm trying to loosen it up enough to where I feel comfortable. This is my first ring ever. Looks good, though.

Q. Are you digging it?

TY GIBBS: Oh, yeah, all of it. Now I can give people knuckles and it hurts them, not me. We've all been through that.

THE MODERATOR: Ty, congratulations on the championship. Outstanding season.

TY GIBBS: Thanks, guys. Thanks all year.

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