Ty Gibbs triumphs, claiming the Xfinity Rising Year title

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Ty Gibbs’ start-up campaign has been full of non-stop headlines throughout 2022. Whether it’s his six wins in entering the Championship 4 Final at just 20 years old or his driving style, Gibbs has been the star – for better or worse – in the Xfinity Series.

His star shined brightest on Saturday evenings at Phoenix Raceway as Gibbs claimed the series title in his first season at Xfinity. #54 driver Joe Gibbs Racing won the JR Motorsports triple from rival Noah Gragson and teammates Justin Algayer and Josh Perry in the championship race.

Related: unofficial results | Ty Gibbs driver page

At 20 years, 1 month and 1 day old, Gibbs has become the fourth youngest champ in series history, coming close to the likes of current trophy series veterans Chase Elliott and William Byron. Elliott is the youngest NASCAR Series National Champion, winning the Xfinity title in 2014 at the age of 18, while Byron won the NXS title in 2017 at the age of 19.

Gibbs dominated the ARCA Menards series on his debut, winning 18 races over three seasons and snatching checkbox flags at a ridiculous 38.3% rate in 47 starts. He was nearly perfect in 2021 across all three ARCA banners, winning 10 of 20 races in the Menards Series and all of his six starts combined in the West and East Series.

Having demonstrated full leadership at the ARCA level, the teenager was called up for a part-time role with the JGR team owned by his grandfather. He drove the #54 Toyota and immediately made his name known in the chain where names are made.

Beginning his first Xfinity career? An exciting victory when 18-year-old Gibbs won the road track layout at Daytona, leading 14 of the 56 laps in the process.

Gibbs continued to shine in 2021, winning three more races, and while not qualifying for the championship, emergency Xfinity carried the message loud and clear that the rapidly rising prospect would soon be a title contender.

His official rookie year brought this rival status to fruition as Gibbs racked up five wins before the start of this year’s playoffs.

While wins and the first five finishes are always great for someone as young as Gibbs, his shining moment of the summer came at Road America as the 54th driver outpaced 2021 Cup Series champion Kyle Larson by turns left and right. Route 4,048 miles.

It was racing that reaffirmed that Gibbs is a top-tier talent and poised for potential spotlights in the first ASAR series.

Despite the drivers’ unwillingness to get the first shot in the Cup series, Gibbs – in addition to his role at Xfinity – held the remainder of the 2022 Cup Series for Kurt Bosch after the 2004 champion was injured in a qualifying accident at Pocono Raceway.

Gibbs scored three times in the top 20 in his first three Cup games starting with #45 23XI Racing Toyota, including a top 10 race at the Michigan International Speedway. While he didn’t collect anything else like that heading into the title race, Gibbs learned how to drive a next-gen car and earned valuable sitting time that should get him ready to jump full time to trophy level when the time comes.

His sixth win in the penultimate race of 2022 at Martinsville Speedway did not come without his criticism, but the win cemented his position in the Championship 4 – which has now crowned his first title for what could be much more to come in his 20-year career.

With the jump to the Cup Series perhaps around the corner for Gibbs at his grandfather’s team, he will have a lot of eyes on him as he continues to mature into a championship-caliber driver at the highest athletic level.

But for now, it’s time to celebrate.

This story will be updated.