Ty Gibbs Nov 3, 2022; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Ty Gibbs, the driver of the NASCAR Xfinity Series No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, speaks to the media during the NASCAR media day at Phoenix Convention Center on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022, ahead of the championship weekend races at Phoenix International Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Alex Gould/The Republic Nascar Nascar Championship Media Day

NASCAR driver Noah Gragson did not hold back Thursday when asked about fellow Xfinity Series competitor Ty Gibbs.

“I just don’t like him,” Gragson told reporters at Phoenix Raceway. “I’m speaking what everybody doesn’t want to say.”

Gragson’s attitude could set up fireworks this Saturday when he and Gibbs race for the Xfinity Series championship at Phoenix. The two drivers will compete for the title with Justin Allgaier and Josh Berry, with the top-finishing driver taking home the series trophy.

Gibbs has inspired that kind of talk in the NASCAR community in recent days, following his controversial victory Saturday at Martinsville Raceway. He made contact with race leader and Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Brandon Jones on the final lap of overtime, sending Jones into the outside wall. A win would have clinched Jones a spot in the Championship 4 at Phoenix. Gibbs had already earned a berth earlier in the event.

Fans taunted Gibbs after the race, chanting, “Thank you, grandpa,” suggesting Gibbs wouldn’t have the high-powered ride without his relationship to team founder Joe Gibbs. And the 20-year-old Gibbs didn’t help matters Sunday when he used a Jesus analogy in explaining how he dealt with the boos.

Gragson pointed out Gibbs has used excuses after previous on-track incidents.

“I’m sick and tired of the ‘I’m sorry and I’m trying to learn’ deal,” Gragson said. “It’s been two years.”

“He doesn’t care. He lives in fantasy land.”

Things could get very interesting Saturday if these two are racing side by side with the championship in sight.

NASCAR fans generally seemed to come down on Gragson’s side on Twitter, but some pointed out that the rivalry is good for the sport.

[Jeff Gluck]

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.