NASCAR Cup Series rookie Ty Gibbs returned to Pocono Raceway last weekend, a year after his sudden Cup Series call-up at the Long Pond, Pennsylvania tri-oval.
Gibbs had a 16th-place finish on his debut for 23XI Racing at Pocono. A year later, he improved his result at the same track, earning his first career top-five finish in the NASCAR Cup Series.
The #54 Toyota driver was proud of the effort put in by the team and himself, which was finally reflected in the results sheet. Although happy with his outing last weekend, Gibbs felt a better finish was achievable.
“We had a very fast He Gets Us, Monster Energy Toyota Camry TRD. I’m very pleased with the effort and the finish,” he said in an interview with SiriusXM NASCAR. “I really wish we could finish a bit better there. It’s just good to get a top five though. I’m really proud of my team, really big effort there. So we’ll keep working and learning and improving more and more, and that’s the same for me.”
The 20-year-old lined up 11th on the starting grid and maintained his position by riding a clean race. He was running seventh at the end of the second leg and moved up two more places to finish in the top five.
Ty Gibbs rode a clean race finishing ahead of teammate Christopher Bell, who had a bumpy ride but managed to finish behind Gibbs, putting Joe Gibbs Racing’s four Toyota Camrys in the top six.
The #54 JGR rider added that staying up front and keeping position was key to bringing home a good result.
“You just have to stay ahead and have good starts.” he added. “Thanks to my team for giving me information on how to save fuel and make sure we keep track position. Because track position is really important.”
Gibbs currently sits 19th in the drivers’ standings 28 points below the cut-off point.
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Ty Gibbs aims for his first NASCAR Cup Series victory
Ty Gibbs in his rookie campaign earned five top-10 finishes and one top-five finish with five races to go for the playoffs. Gibbs is the only JGR rider not to win a race this season, with veteran teammates Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin taking multiple wins, and Christopher Bell winning the dirt race.
After securing his career-best result, the defending Xfinity Series champion set his sights on his first victory.
“It’s pretty cool, of course,” the 20-year-old told Frontstretch. “It would have been better to win anyway.”
“I have to do a better job on my part,” he added. “Maybe we can fight for wins. I feel like we’re really solid, we just have to do a better job there. I’m really happy with my team’s effort. Have a nice day.”
While the No. 54 Toyota driver could qualify for the playoffs on the points, a win in the next five races would do wonders for the rookie.