Dale Earnhardt Jr. was in complete shock when he heard that Ty Gibbs’ father Coy Gibbs had died suddenly in his sleep just hours after he had celebrated his son’s maiden NASCAR Xfinity Series title.
During a media day last week, Earnhardt Jr. spoke candidly about the raw emotions he has experienced since Gibbs’s father’s demise. The NASCAR Hall of Famer was critical of Ty Gibbs after his move at Martinsville Speedway, but he has now backtracked on it and revealed his plans to treat the 20-year-old driver going forward.
Earnhardt Jr. said:
“We wake up in the morning to the news that Coy Gibbs passed away. Everybody was floored by that news. A lot of us had been really hard on Ty Gibbs over the week. There’s this debate of — hey man, if you’re here and you’re racing in this industry, you’re a grown man, you can handle everything coming at you. If the media’s got an opinion, you got to take it. You don’t get a pass because you’re 19 or 18 or whatever. If you’re in the big boy league, you take it just like everybody else.”
“So there was this opinion about what was going on with Ty and when we go to the media day on Wednesday, it continued. A couple of hours into the media day and I was thinking, ‘I kind of feel sorry for the guy.’ I think he’s picking up on what we’re all putting down.”
Ty Gibbs was one of the most hated drivers of recent times as his careless driving style earned him many enemies. Even Dale Earnhardt Jr. criticized him for his actions at Martinsville Speedway for dumping his teammate Brandon Jones on the final lap for the win.
“I just worry about him obviously having lost his dad at such a young age”- Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. stated that the news of Ty Gibbs’s father’s death hit him particularly hard for understandable reasons. Earnhardt Jr. expressed his concern about Gibbs’ mental state after losing his father at such a young age and the criticism he has faced since the Xfinity win.
Earnhardt Jr. said:
“Were we too hard on Ty? Where is he today? What is he doing right this minute? Who’s with him? How does he feel? It was a really hard thing to believe was real. With Ty Gibbs, I just worry about him obviously having lost his dad at such a young age. He’s under such a focus right now because of his on-track racing incidents and so forth and his season. He’s a champion.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. also lost his father at a very young age in an unfortunate crash at the Daytona 500 in 2021.