MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – Ty Gibbs scored an emotional victory at Myrtle Beach Speedway on Saturday with his grandfather, Coach Joe Gibbs, in attendance.
Gibbs took the lead from Will Burns on lap 116 and held off a late race challenge from reigning Myrtle Beach Speedway track champion Justin Milliken in the closing laps to score the victory. The win, his biggest to date, came less than one month after J.D. Gibbs, who had been the bedrock of Joe Gibbs Racing for years, passed away.
“I have a great group of guys who did a great job today talking me through the race and everything,” Ty Gibbs told Race22.com in victory lane after the race. “It just means a lot to get this win. This is for J.D. too. He’s up there, he’s probably smiling too on some type of racetrack up there. This means a lot. I had a blast up there and my guys did a great job.”
For Ty Gibbs, who was teamed up with Barry Nelson and the Nelson Motorsports racing team, the victory gives him plenty of confidence heading into the CARS Response Energy Tour season.
“It means a lot,” Gibbs said. “It means I get to keep my job. It gives me some confidence to win the first race of the season. First race win for Joe Gibbs Racing this year. It means a lot too to win here at one of the hardest tracks. Now we get to go to one of the easier tracks and go stomp them. It was fun racing next to Justin [Milliken] too.”
The victory was equally emotional for Joe Gibbs, former Washington Redskins head coach and the owner of the Joe Gibbs Racing NASCAR team.
“It means a lot to our family and to Ty,” Coach Gibbs told Race22.com. “Really appreciate it. If everybody out there can go to JDGibbsLegacy.com and watch our service from last Friday with J.D., we lost J.D. on January 11th, so we’re asking everybody to do that. Huge day for Ty and the whole Gibbs family. It’s a big deal for us.”
Coach Gibbs talked briefly about the impact J.D. had at Joe Gibbs Racing and now feels Ty could be destined to carry on the Gibbs family legacy in NASCAR.
“J.D. really pulled our race team,” Coach Gibbs remarked. “He spent 27 years there. We want to do everything we can to continue racing. It looks like Ty will be the one grandson that will want to race for us. That’s exciting for us, for the whole family. We appreciate everyone here today. First race out of the box is a big deal for us so we really appreciate it.”
The victory was Ty Gibbs’ third career win.
Justin Milliken, who also raced a Nelson Motorsports car, came home in third after challenging Gibbs late. Under the circumstances, Milliken was perfectly fine with a third-place finish.
“For those guys to do what they did and offer me a car and put me in the race, I was just going to race them clean,” Milliken said. “I didn’t have anything to race with at the end. I knew that. My strategy was just to fall to the back and make some hay at the end. We were able to do that and found ourselves in second. I knew going into one that we didn’t have a winning car so I wanted to do what I could to try to help the team get a win. It was a great weekend. Ty drove a great race.”
Ryan Millington finished in second after passing Milliken on the last lap. Bradley McCaskill finished fourth while Jacob Heafner rounded out the top-five.
1. Ty Gibbs; 2. Ryan Millington; 3. Justin Milliken; 4. Bradley McCaskill; 5. Jacob Heafner; 6. Brody Pope; 7. Luke Sorrow; 8. Mike Darne; 9. Jason York; 10. Peyton Sellers.
11. Sam Yarbrough; 12. Corey Heim; 13. Layne Riggs; 14. Austin Somero; 15. Will Burns; 16. Bob Saville; 17. David Roberts; 18. Brian Vause; 19. Chris Throckmorton; 20. Cameron Bowen.
21. Dillon Houser; 22. Jerry Miracle; 23. Austin McDaniel; 24. Angela Ruch; 25. Matt Cox; 26. Jamie Weatherford; 27. Chad McCumbee; 28. Brian Mundy; 29. Justin Hicks; 30. Lucas Williams.
31. Ed Williams; 32. Melvin Langley; 33. Matthew Linker; 34. Stuart Ricks.