In a widely expected and anticipated move, Joe Gibbs Racing announced Tuesday afternoon that Ty Gibbs will move to the NASCAR Cup Series full-time in 2023. The 20-year old grandson of NASCAR Hall of Fame car owner Joe Gibbs will drive the No. 54 Toyota, replacing Kyle Busch following his departure to Richard Childress Racing.
Gibbs' promotion to Cup marks the culmination of his uncommonly fast rise through the ranks of NASCAR. In February of 2021, Gibbs won in his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut at the Daytona International Speedway road course, then won four races in total in a partial schedule on his way to Rookie of the Year honors. Gibbs would follow that up with seven wins, 16 top fives and 23 top 10s in 2022 en route to the Xfinity Series championship.
In addition to his Xfinity Series exploits, Gibbs also gained extensive Cup experience in 2022 as a substitute driver, running 15 races in place of an injured Kurt Busch at 23XI Racing. Gibbs had a best finish of 10th at Michigan and finished on the lead lap nine times.
Chris Gayle, who served as Gibbs' crew chief in the Xfinity Series, will follow him to the Cup Series to serve in the same role. Gibbs is the second confirmed rookie driver in Cup next season alongside Noah Gragson, his championship rival from Xfinity and the championship runner-up in 2022.
Gibbs' adoption of the No. 54 is notable, as it means that the No. 18 -- Joe Gibbs Racing's original number -- will not be used for the first time since the team's inception in 1992. The team says that they intend to use the No. 18 "in future years".