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Another Strong Performance for Ty Gibbs

Ty Gibbs qualifies at Circuit of the Americas. (Photo: Sean Folsom | The Podium Finish)

Arguably no driver has turned more heads in 2024 than Ty Gibbs. The sophomore delivered another performance that left many wondering when that elusive first win will come.

After starting second, the 21-year-old ran in the top five almost all day Sunday in the EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas, bringing home a third-place that tied his Phoenix performance two weeks ago for his career-best finish.

Gibbs now has three top-fives and five top-10s in the last five races.

“We were just a little bit too loose on the right-hand corners,” Gibbs said. “I wish we were a little bit tighter, but we did a really good job today.”

Gibbs’ strong run at COTA shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. The grandson of Joe Gibbs has four wins turning right in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, including his series debut at the Daytona Road Course in February 2021.

He only had one finish worse than 12th in the six road course races as a rookie, including a ninth-place run at COTA one year ago.

From the start of practice Saturday, three cars immediately stood out above the rest of the field — Gibbs, William Byron, who was fastest in practice and the pole winner, and Tyler Reddick, the defending winner who showed lightning-fast pace.

On the jump, these three established themselves as the ones to beat, running 1-2-3 before they pit before the end of the first stage.

The No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota locked up the tires exiting pit road up the hill, which was cause for concern but ultimately didn’t affect Gibbs’ day.

Ty Gibbs works a hairpin turn during qualifying at Circuit of the Americas. (Photo: Dylan Nadwodny | The Podium Finish)

Gibbs had the best speed of all the Toyotas on Sunday, but it was his teammates taking the stages. Christopher Bell and Denny Hamlin, with race wins in their back pockets, elected to run alternative strategies to each tack on an additional playoff point.

For the third time in the past four road course races, there was not a single caution for cause. That meant there were limited opportunities to make up lost time.

Gibbs ran third behind Byron and Ross Chastain for the first half of Stage 3 but managed to get around Chastain on the final pit stop.

He did not gain a spot, however, as Alex Bowman came in a lap sooner to work his way into second behind Byron, a replay of how the 2024 Daytona 500 finished.

Despite clearly having a faster car and fresher tires, Gibbs spent several laps on Bowman’s bumper without being able to get around. By the time he got to second, JGR teammate Bell came into the picture with the fastest lap times on the track.

After having nothing for his teammate, Gibbs could only watch from third as Byron held off Bell for the No. 24 car’s second win of the season. Joe Gibbs Racing and Hendrick Motorsports swept the first four spots and have won five of the opening six races.

“He’s my teammate,” Gibbs said of Bell. “He has new tires on and caught me from like a whole straightaway back. I feel like if I raced him that hard, it would have been kind of mean. I tried to let him by when he got to me, and it was just what it was.”

Gibbs exits the first 1/6 of the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season sitting second in points, five points out of the lead.

He looks to continue his hot streak next Sunday as the NASCAR Cup Series will celebrate Easter Sunday from Richmond Raceway. Gibbs ran 9th and 15th in two races at Richmond last year and went to victory lane in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2022. The race is set for primetime — 7 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

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