Each year, Speed51 hosts the Short Track Draft, evaluating the top short track racing prospects in North America and determining who is the number-one pick each spring. More than 100 industry experts will submit their ballots in the coming days, sharing the young racers they would choose to build a race team around.
Today, we’ll look at one of the top prospects in this year’s Draft.
Ty Gibbs was the No.19 pick in last year’s Short Track Draft before enjoying a breakout year in 2019. The grandson of NASCAR team owner Joe Gibbs made the jump to Stock Cars for his family team and won four races in various ARCA levels while only finishing outside the top ten twice all season.
With the success he enjoyed during the 2019 season, Gibbs’ stock will rise significantly for this year’s draft. Just where will Ty Gibbs be selected when the 2020 Short Track Draft results are released on Thursday afternoon?
Draft Projection: 3rd-6th
Let’s look at the four wins Gibbs earned in ARCA competition during the 2019 season. His first win came in the ARCA Menards Series race at the World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway with a last-lap pass of eventual ARCA Menards Series East champion Sam Mayer on June 22. He led 32 laps in that race, the second-most out of any driver.
While his first win came on a last-lap pass, his next two wins were nothing short of dominant. Gibbs led all but four laps to win the ARCA race at Salem Speedway in September, then went north to New Hampshire and led 112 of the 125 laps there for his first ARCA East win with DGR-Crosley Racing.
His final win may have been the most impressive. Gibbs charged from the 22nd starting spot to win the ARCA West finale at Phoenix Raceway in a loaded field that consisted of drivers from all three ARCA series’, finishing ahead of Sam Mayer, Derek Kraus, and Hailie Deegan.
So far in 2020, Gibbs has finished third in both races he’s competed in, the ARCA East race at New Smyrna Speedway and an ARCA Menards Series show at Phoenix, where he led 122 laps.
Gibbs has the backing from Monster Energy, who has a partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing. He has been a strong ambassador for the brand, and trips to victory lane on national TV helps the cause and gets Monster even more exposure. The company has the funds to stick with a driver all the way to the Cup Series, so a Gibbs/Monster pairing could be one we see for a long time.
He is active on all forms of social media, particularly on Twitter, where he’s constantly interacting with fans and other drivers. He has joined Instagram in the past year, but doesn’t post quite as much on there despite having more followers there than on Twitter. In a day and age where social interaction plays a key role in the careers and success of drivers, Gibbs has social media figured out, with some room to grow.
As for his plans for 2020, Gibbs will compete in all the ARCA Menards Series events he’s allowed to take part in until his 18th birthday in October, while also making starts in both ARCA East and West and select Trans-Am events. A potential NASCAR Truck Series start cannot be ruled out, either.
The 2020 Draft will see Gibbs’ stock rise significantly, and with another strong year this year, we could possibly see him number one overall in the 2021 Speed51 Short Track Draft.
Where will Gibbs ultimately be chosen in the 2020 Speed51 Short Track Draft? Find out Thursday, April 30 at 7 p.m. ET on Speed51, as the top 10 picks will be announced in the first-ever Short Track Draft Selection Show.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51