Joe Gibbs Racing driver Ty Gibbs was made available to media at Championship 4 Media Day on Thursday in Phoenix:
TY GIBBS, No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota GR Supra, Joe Gibbs Racing
What has this past week been like for you?
“It’s definitely been really long and busy, but you know, my actions put myself in this position so I just have to learn from it and move on and, you know, I mean it’s just it’s just hard.”
What’s the lesson that you have to learn from this situation?
“I think the biggest thing is, you know, I guess JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing), we’re all one big family and for me to kind of break that apart for my selfish actions, it really hurts me because I grew up there and it’s not cool. And these guys work so hard, you know, the whole year and it’s just, it’s just hard. It’s a lot.”
Have you spoken with Brandon Jones yet? How did that go?
“Yeah, for sure. I feel like you know, I got to speak to him. And I feel like, you know, our conversations are private. I don’t want to get into anybody else’s privacy, but, you know, our conversations are private. I definitely got to talk to him and I can completely understand where he’s coming from. And, you know, I accept it and I’m the one did that and put us in that position.”
How difficult has it been going through this situation and having this difficult conversations?
“I think it’s something that you know, I wanted to do because I made that mistake and I have to say the right things because you know, I need to do that and it’s definitely hard, it’s for sure hard to do that. I have to face the fact that I made a mistake and you know, I have to do the hardest and work as hard as I can to fix these issues.
How hard is it now to shift gears to compete for a championship?
“It’s a lot. It’s definitely a lot but, you know, I like I said before I put myself in this position and, you know, I’m the one that did this to myself, we didn’t have to be here and I was going to be here, but I didn’t have to make this such a hard week and it really hurts me because, you know, it’s my family’s team and we’re all one big family, like I said, and to hurt their feelings really affects me.”
Was it more if a situation of you being focused on the win rather than looking at the bigger picture?
“It’s definitely really hard. You know, going back I, if I could redo it multiple times, I would have thought I guess this this scenario over millions of times, you know, and it’s hard for me because I have to live with it now. And it’s really hard, you know, but we could have had two JGR cars I guess, in championship four and I took that out. I took 50% of Toyota’s championship and JGR’s championship away for my selfish action so I have to move forward and do the best I can to work and to fix these things.”
Did you know the situation that Brandon Jones was in at the time? The fact that he needed to win the race to advance to the Championship Four?
“Yeah, I did. I definitely understood what was going on. I didn’t know exactly what points you know, were in play, but I knew he had to win and it’s hard going back and looking at it just because I did something wrong and dwelling on it really hurts and affects you know, me and my team and it’s just a hard situation.”
When did all of this start to sink in regarding the severity of the situation?
“I guess you know, right after the race is probably the best way to say it. Right after my adrenaline calmed down and for me to watch the broadcast back and kind of see you know, the highlights and stuff. That’s where it starts to sink in and then you know, seeing people not happy with me and it does affect me because you know, I’m the one that did that and I didn’t have to and that was you know, selfish for me and it just, it’s a lot, it’s a lot.”
Fans may look at you as a rich kid who doesn’t care about anyone else after this situation. Is that true and how do you prove to them it’s not?
“No, I truly do care about everybody else and my actions, put myself in position. And if I didn’t do that, we wouldn’t have to be talking about this stuff. But I had to fix my actions and work as hard as I can forward. I work all the time on racing and I spent so much working on racing and I work a lot on really hard to you know, and it’s these things that I have to work at and get better at.”
Do you regret the Jesus comment that you made on SiriusXM post-race?
“I totally do. And I think that I wasn’t trying to say it like that, it came out the wrong way of course and moving forward I just have to do the best I can to be more aware of my situation and then what’s going on”
How do you clear your head now and focus on racing for your first major championship?
“I mean, like I said, I put myself in this position so I have to deal with it. And you know, I own up to all of it and like you said, going back to how do I change my mindset from this to racing? There’s a lot and I have a good amount of time out here to spend to make sure I’m looking at all the data I need to look at and all the film and watch all the things I need to look at to get better for this weekend. I think this is my seventh race here so I really enjoy Phoenix too. It’s one of those tracks that I really enjoy racing at. So I’m excited for it too. So you just have to transition your mindset to that.”
How do you transition and actually do that after all the fallout from this week?
“I guess the biggest thing is just mindset and changing the way you think and the racing terms, you know, go in and focus on racing. I guess for me, I love racing so much that I can kind of transition that pretty easy to my racing side just because I love it. And I feel like that’s a good trait I have but you know, sometimes I make my mistakes and I have to own up to it and work as hard as I can to fix that and working as hard as I do with that and I did do racing and watching film and studying data.”
Are there any concerns within your team that Brandon Jones may do something Saturday to impede you winning the championship?
“It’s not been addressed but you know if that’s the course of action he wants to take and you know, I can’t control that I can only do the best I can and do the best I can in the present now and work as hard as I can to change you know things and situations and be more aware in the future.”
If you knew Brandon Jones had to win to get into the Championship Four then why did you do it?
“Like I said, it comes down just caught in the moment and you know, selfish actions led to that. For me, this week I feel like I’ve learned a whole new perspective as a team. And you know, being I guess, somewhat looking at as the ownership side, it was completely ridiculous and unacceptable I did it. We could have had two JGR cars in the championship and now we only have one because of my actions and we have 500 or 600 employees at our race shop, I don’t know the exact number, but you know it effects every one of them and you know, it hurts me too because you know I grew up there spending so much time in those race shops. I feel like I know most of the people there personally and to see them affected by it really hurts to me.”
Does it make it harder this week knowing it’s you against three JRM drivers?
“It definitely is from an ownership side it definitely is. You know, makes it hard to look at from a team perspective, not ownership side, sorry. It definitely is because it takes our 50% chance to win to 25%. The best thing I can do now is to go out there and win it and you know do the best I can for the future and you know not to make these decisions and put myself in the position.”
Joe Gibbs said there would be consequences for you, do you know yet what those will be?
“I do not and you know, I wasn’t a part of those conversations but I accept the actions and you know, accept what I did and what there is to come.”
Do they ground you?
“I don’t know. I like I said I don’t know, but I put myself in that position and we wouldn’t be talking about this right now if it wasn’t for me.”
Do you think this will impact your chances of getting a Cup ride next season?
“I don’t know. I don’t know what the future holds. And I don’t really know, but what I did was unacceptable. I think I lost respect from a bunch of people. And you know, the only thing I do now is turn it back and to learn from it.”
Has this experience been more difficult or less difficult with both your father and grandfather so involved with the race team?
“It definitely makes it difficult I feel like. And it definitely makes it difficult because you know, it’s like I said, I grew up with all these guys and it’s my family’s team and for me to hurt the family aspect of the whole team, we’re one big family and for me to hurt that, it hurts me and it’s hard because you know, I feel like I have a lot of respect from those people and now I probably don’t have as much and I have to earn it back.
Assuming you’re moving to the Cup Series next season, have there been any concerns from what could be your future teammates about how you will race them based on how you raced your Xfinity teammates?
“I made sure to apologize to them in our drivers meeting. I’m with the 23 currently and making sure for all my teammates — higher and lower — from ARCA to Cup, I think the biggest thing is just to make sure I earn my teammate respect back and in turn, earn the respect back of the NASCAR community.”
How do you earn that respect back?
“By being in any situations again and not doing the stuff I’ve done and to learn from it and to be more socially aware of my situations and surroundings.”
Has there been any older or veteran drivers that have talked to you about what you’re dealing with currently?
“I definitely have had great talks and not just drivers, but people I feel like from our team and outside of racing. I’ve had great talks with everybody, you know, learning talks, which I’ve taken a lot of things away. I’ve listened to what everybody’s had to say and understand what they all have to say — good and bad — I take it and learn from it.”
Will this impact how you race on Saturday because some people might say that move could be more acceptable when you’re racing for the championship?
“Yeah, I think the biggest thing is if I lead every lap and say up front, I don’t have to race dirty. So that’s the biggest thing and if it comes down to is you have to be more aware. Like I said, what I did last week was unacceptable and you know, I just have to earn the respect back and you know, if it’s by racing clean and winning the championship or by leaving more room on the race track.”
Are you now being more sensitive to not making as aggressive of a move as you might need to because of this situation?
“The best thing to do is to race with respect like I said, leave a little room and I guess if it comes down, you know, just make sure I out-race them and outsmart them and maybe, I take the different line in the PJ1 and I pass them and I don’t have to do that. It’s definitely a great question to ask, but, you know, I just don’t want to be known as a dirty racer. I want to be known as a class racer and you know, somebody it’s going to race hard but not going to be dirty. And you know, I’ve been dirty and made my mistakes. But the only thing I can do now is work forward to changing that perspective.”
Do you think you’ve been a dirty racer or more of an aggressive racer?
“Aggressive and I guess, you know, and I mean, definitely some mistakes and from wrecking Ryan Sieg and doing stuff like that, I think definitely those things are dirty and unacceptable and not right. So the best thing I can do now, like I said, is just work my way forward to fix it.”
Did you have a one-on-one conversation with Brandon Jones or was it a team meeting?
“Like I said, all our conversations are private and I had great talks with him.”
Did you talk with any of your Cup counterparts or get any advice from them?
“Like I said, I’ve got great advice. I don’t want to, you know, be telling everybody what conversations I’ve had with them and stuff like that. I just want to make sure that’s private and I respect what they say so, like I said, I’ve heard a lot and I’ve got to learn a lot good and bad. And you know, it’s part of what I’m I’m doing and the situation I put myself in.”
How do you change the mindset of the race fans that say you’ve made similar comments before, but your actions don’t reflect the changes you talk about?
“Like I said, just working as hard as I can now to fix these situations and to not put myself in the spots for my actions is the biggest thing and that’s what’s going to earn respect. You know, like I said, actions are going to earn that back, not just words.”
How challenging has it been to be at odds with Kyle Busch during the summer considering how much you’ve admired him over the years and throughout your early career?
“Yeah, it definitely is really hard. I respect Kyle (Busch) a lot. And I feel like I’ve talked to him so much in the past and I feel like I have a great relationship with him. So, it’s definitely hard and, you know, but that’s outside of what I can control and all I control is being a good person and making the right decisions and fixing my actions.”
Are you and Kyle Busch okay in your relationship?
“I feel like yeah, I feel like we are we’ve, you know, talked and have great conversations and Kyle (Busch) is somebody, no matter what happened, somebody I’ll always respect and always look up to for as much as I respect and as much as I looked up to when I was younger. He’s somebody that I’ll always look at as you know, somebody that was a role model to me, it means a lot to me, no matter what happens.”
Do you have to put the blinders on when Kyle Busch says things in the media about you?
“I mean, I can’t control like I said, what people can do and what he’s going to say, and maybe it does hurt me a little bit but he’s somebody I’ll always respect.”
How do you continue to end up in these situations on the race track?
“It’s just being overly aggressive in some of these situations, and I have the will to win but sometimes that is not the right thing to do. So I just have to change my actions and you know, earn respect going forward. And you know, I don’t want to be known as a dirty race car driver. I don’t want to be the one getting the boos, I want to be the one getting a cheers and be the one winning, but at the same time race clean.”
Do you need a different spotter or someone else in your ear during these races?
“That comes down to me, it comes down to me. I’ve got great people around me, I’ve got great people on top of on top of the spotter stand and great people on top but pit box comes down to me though at the end of the day.”
Are you trying too hard or overcompensating for your last name to try to prove your talent?
“No, not really. I feel like in racing, it’s hard to really, you know, when you try really hard, you’re driving out of emotions and I feel bad emotions and they can cause big mistakes like I did Saturday. I feel like it’s really hard to be fast like that. So you’re going to make mistakes if like off of instinct and a muscle memory is where you’re, you’re really fast at naturally and I feel like you know, working really hard. I definitely think wins take care of it. But at the same time, I want to look at it as, I’m just the driver too. I want to earn respect as much as I can. It’s going to be hard for a spot I’m in and the actions I made hurt me even more. So the best thing to do forward is be clean and win, wins take care of I feel like you know, respect. People respect that. But at the same time racing clean people respect that too. Comes down to doing the right thing.”
Is there someone who can coach you through these scenarios?
“For sure there’s a lot of people a lot of great people around me, but then at the end of the day, I’m the one that’s going to make those decisions and I’m the one that is looking to control my emotions and, and drive clean and smart and respectful. You know, sometimes I guess, NASCAR racing is not all clean. There’s some bumping and banging but that’s the NASCAR racing and I just want to be able to race respectfully and win and when it comes down to me and me making the decisions and learning from these mistakes I’ve made.”
Josh Berry commented on how much he respects you and that if you had to do Saturday all over again, you likely would handle it differently. How does that make you feel?
“I respect Josh (Berry) so much and you know, I really enjoy him. I feel like he’s a great friend to me and a great driver I respect him on the race track. So that means a lot and for sure, going back, I would totally change, I would totally change the whole situation, but I can’t but best thing for me to do now is learn from it and move forward and not put myself in that position anymore.”
Why did you celebrate the win to the extent that you did last Saturday?
“I think, you know, like I said, if I could redo the whole thing I would and being a part of that and winning it definitely, it’s hard, you’re caught up in the moment, but looking at it from an outsider’s perspective and you’re looking at it from you know, somebody in the stands, it’s completely ridiculous and unacceptable. Then from the team and sponsors and even Brandon (Jones), it’s completely unacceptable. You know, just caught up in the moment and not one and you know, going back and learning this stuff in the future. You know, hopefully I’ll learn from this and I’ll work as hard as I can to not put myself in these positions.”
What will you do with the clock you won on Saturday?
“I haven’t thought about that. I’ve been going through so much this this whole week, you know, so it’s just come down to a decision on that. And it’s hard just thinking of all the feelings I’ve hurt at the race shop and it really hurts me.”
Do you feel the boos when you walk out on stage for the Cup race on Sunday in Martinsville?
“I mean, we can sit here all day and say it doesn’t affect us, but I feel like it truly does affect us. And you know, I don’t want to be known for the boos. And my actions are the ones that have hurt that. Maybe there’s some people that will never change your opinion. And you know, some people that will always be for me, but you know, I want to earn some people’s respect back, I want there to be some cheers, not all boos. And you know, that’s my plan and to win races.”
People love Kurt Busch now, they didn’t always love him.
“Kurt (Busch), Kurt’s been a big help too. And I feel like honestly out of everybody I’ve talked to, he’s been the biggest one. Kurt means a lot to me personally. And he’s, he’s great. And you know, he’s taught me a lot of great lessons. And for sure, I feel like we’ve all seen that and he’s awesome and a very respectful driver.”
What is the biggest lesson Kurt Busch has taught you?
“Just making sure you’re learn from these situations. Like I don’t want to share everything I said and make sure our conversations are private, but you know, learn from your actions. You have to do that, to not put myself in position that I don’t want to put myself in position again, like I learned from my actions.”
Did Kurt Busch tell you to do it quicker than he did in his career and not take 20 years?
“Yeah, luckily, I’m being able to feel all this right now at 20. You know, that’s a great thing and great age to start at. Wish these things would have never happened, but I could learn from them and I’ll move forward and hopefully I can learn from all of this.”
What do you think the biggest difference is between you and Noah Gragson who also races people aggressively to win races?
“Yeah, it’s just the opinion of the fans. I feel like you know, some of the stuff I’ve done is definitely not the right things. And I mean, we’ve made mistakes. We’re all human. And we’re both competitors. And you know, I don’t really know I, I feel like that’s somebody you know, from the outsider’s perspective. I just kind of try to work on myself and make myself the best I can. And I know that he’s doing the same thing and they’re part of a great team. So best thing I can do forward is just make sure I fix my actions.”
Do you think the championship is between yourself and Noah Gragson?
“You have a great short track guy, Josh Berry, one of the baddest short track dudes in America, you know, we’re at kind of short track style track so I feel like it’s going to be a great race and Justin Allgaier has great experience, you know, he’s very fast and he won here in the spring so I feel like it’s a you know, a lot a lot of great talent coming into this race.”
Have you talked with Kurt Busch about what happened in Martinsville?
“I definitely did and he’s (Kurt Busch) probably the first person I called and he made sure that I’m going to learn from it, like I said, and make sure going forward to learn from my actions and not put myself in these positions.”
Are you expecting retribution on Saturday?
“No. I mean, like I said, you can’t drive off the rearview mirror. You have to use muscle memory and no, I don’t think I’ll be going too fast if I’m looking in the mirror. All I can do is look forward. You know? And if stuff happens, it happens and it’s out of my control.”
Did you talk to the crew members on the 19 team?
“Yeah, for sure. Like, it was really hard, but I got to talk to the whole entire shop and make sure we get them all together. Like JGR preaches, we’re one big family and for me to hurt feelings in a family it really affects me and I know each one of those guys personally, I feel like, and it hurts me. So I got to talk to them. I can talk to the 18 group and I got to talk to the shop foreman and crew chiefs and know everybody from each different department and apologize.”
Do you feel like you’re mature enough to move to the Cup Series next season?
“I’m not the one to say that. You know, I feel like that’s somebody else and that’s out of my control. But I’ll work as hard as I can to fix you know, these situations and to learn from them.”
Did you ever consider not running the Cup car this weekend in Phoenix?
“No, I think that the best thing I can do is take it out and take as much experience as I can away and go and do the best I can for the 23 team.”
Would you prefer to be in the race car this weekend?
“Yeah, I guess race cars, you know, is I really enjoyed being in the race car. Like I said, I have a love for racing, and I definitely enjoy it and when you know, hopefully we’ll have a good run Sunday in the 23.”
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