PHOENIX — Coy Gibbs, a Joe Gibbs Racing team executive and father of NASCAR driver Ty Gibbs, died suddenly Saturday night at the age of 49. His death came less than a day after his son won the Xfinity Series championship.
“It is with great sadness that Joe Gibbs Racing confirms that Coy Gibbs (co-owner) went to be with the Lord in his sleep last night,” Joe Gibbs Racing said in a statement. “The family appreciates all thoughts and prayers and asks for privacy at this time.”
Today we will do what we do not want. We will unite as a family and race for the name on our chest. @JoeGibbsRacing
— Denny Hamlin (@dennyhamlin) November 6, 2022
Words cannot describe this day. Today was going to be tough enough, but it’s even more heartbreaking now. Sorry.
— Kyle Busch (@KyleBusch) November 6, 2022
“We are heartbroken by the tragic loss of Coy Gibbs,” NASCAR Chairman and CEO Jim France said in a statement. “On behalf of the France family and all of NASCAR, I send 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.”
One of the two children of Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs, Coy was a former driver and assistant NFL coach. Joe Gibbs’ other son, JD, also died aged 49 after a battle with a neurological condition in 2019.
Coy was on hand at Phoenix Raceway to watch Ty – one of his four children – win the Xfinity title on Saturday night and then spoke about his son, who had just gone through a contentious week on the circuit.
“I always supported him as a father,” Coy said. “…Watching him today, just to see his determination…it definitely made me proud.” It made my wife – we were both proud, just because he hammered and did his job. If he wants to do this for a living, he will learn to do this.
Coy is survived by his wife Heather, sons Ty, Case and Jett and daughter Elle.
Ty Gibbs was scheduled to drive the No. 23 23XI Racing Toyota in the NASCAR Cup Series championship race on Sunday. But as news began to spread through the NASCAR garage on Sunday morning, crew members removed Gibbs’ seat and put on inserts for Xfinity Series driver Daniel Hemric, who was still in the Phoenix area after the Saturday race.
23XI Racing later announced that Ty would not race on Sunday and that Hemric would compete in his place.
After his brother JD began to suffer from brain function issues in 2015, Coy was elevated to COO at JGR. He had previously spent years running the JGRMX motorcycle racing team. Previously, he was an offensive quality control assistant with the Washington Commanders (2004-07) and played as a linebacker at Stanford.
— Washington Commanders (@Commanders) November 6, 2022
He also raced in the early 2000s, making 97 starts in NASCAR’s Xfinity and Truck series. But Coy struggled to get results in the 2003 Xfinity season, which led him to the NFL when his father Joe joined Washington as a coach after an 11-year absence in 2004.
Joe Gibbs, who turns 82 later this month, is also in the NASCAR Hall of Fame for his role as a team owner. When news of Coy’s death broke Sunday morning, Joe was preparing to watch driver Christopher Bell compete in the team’s sixth Cup Series championship.
It’s already been a tumultuous year for JGR, with longtime sponsor M&M’s and driver Kyle Busch both leaving the team after Sunday’s race. Then Ty became a lightning rod last week at Martinsville Speedway when the 20-year-old knocked teammate Brandon Jones out of the way win a race.
Joe Gibbs will now face the unfathomable loss of a second son as well as the most logical member of the family to take over the reins of the team when he is ready to retire.
(Photo by Coy Gibbs left: Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)
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