Most fourteen year olds are getting ready for the transition into high school or worrying about their first crush but Ty Gibbs has other things on his mind and bigger things to tackle like the high-banks of Bristol Motor Speedway. Gibbs and his team made the trip to Thunder Valley this past weekend for the Short Track U.S. Nationals first open test in preparation for the inaugural event on May 19-21.
This is Gibbs’ first season in full-sized stock cars after making the transition up to Late Model Stock Cars from Outlaw Karts and Millbridge Speedway (NC). The young driver is off to a pretty good start after already picking up a feature win at Greenville-Pickens Speedway (SC) earlier in the season in a Limited Late Model.
Although just short of making the Top 51, Gibbs was also in the running for the Short Track Draft presented by PFC Brakes on Speed51.com where he was put in the category of “sleepers” since he is still working on breaking through in the sport.
New to full sized stock cars it was also Gibbs’ first time on Bristol Motor Speedway. With his experience limited to tracks like Hickory Motor Speedway (NC) and Greenville Pickens his first few laps were “sketchy,” according to the young teen.
“It’s crazy. The first lap you go in there you’re like ‘woah’ and it sits you so far down in the seat and you’re kind of dizzy,” Gibbs told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “It’s different from Hickory and stuff because you don’t have that much banking and it’s not as fast as this place. This is the fastest I’ve probably ever gone so far.”
Fortunately for the grandson of championship winning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series team owner and former Washington Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs, and son of Coy Gibbs, Ty has plenty of people in his corner coaching him every step of the way.
One of the most important people Gibbs has on his team is Greg Marlowe who is assisting as a driver coach this season. Marlowe has an impressive resume of his own as a chassis builder, crew chief, and plenty of stock car wins as well.
“It’s awesome to have Greg and everybody over there helping me and they have all this experience and its pretty cool.”
Another thing that Gibbs and a lot of other drivers, both rookies and veterans, have been using to prepare for Bristol has been iRacing. Computer simulators like iRacing have been a huge part of many drivers’ preparation before hitting the track at Bristol Motor Speedway.
“I have been on iRacing a lot. SimCraft has been my big partner and everything they have done for the simulator. I have been practicing on iRacing the last two weeks before coming here to Bristol so I could get a good feel of what it would be like here. It’s really close to what it is in real life,” Gibbs said.
While Gibbs’ last name has plenty of history in NASCAR dating back to 1992, the youngster is trying to forge his own path and make a name for himself based on his own racing accomplishments. But even with that said, Gibbs said he can’t help but revel in the history of those who have come before him at Bristol.
“It’s crazy to think about everyone that’s been here before. All the NASCAR Drivers raced here recently and I came to watch but it was cool to come watch all the good drivers that have raced here before like Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch. It’s just awesome.”
The Short Track U.S. Nationals has another open test on May 13th leading up to the inaugural event May 19-21.
Fans are encouraged to head to BristolMotorSpeedway.com for ticket and camping information.
Race fans that cannot make it to the mountains of Tennessee can watch Ty Gibbs and more than 500 other drivers take on the ‘Last Great Colosseum’ via a live pay-per-view broadcast on Speed51 TV, the live broadcasting arm of Speed51.com. Fans can purchase the two-day pay-per-view package for an “Early-bird special” rate of $44.99 now through May 19 by click here.
-By Hannah Newhouse, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent – Twitter: @HannahNewhouse
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com