JGR Co-Founder and NASCAR driver J.D. Gibbs Dead at 49
J.D. Gibbs, the son of three-time NFL Super Bowl winning coach Joe Gibbs, passed away at age 49 from complications following a long battle with a neurological brain disorder. J.D. was the co-founder of Joe Gibbs Racing and the tire changer on the 1993 Daytona 500 winning team, when Dale Jarrett drove the Interstate Batteries #18 to victory with a last lap pass of Dale Earnhardt Sr. After working his way up the ladder, Gibbs was named president of JGR, a position he held for six years before being named co-chairman of the racing organization.
Headquartered in Huntersville NC, Joe Gibbs Racing enjoyed considerable success with J.D. at the helm and captured four NASCAR Cup Championships: two for Pontiac, one for Chevrolet and first Sprint Cup title for Toyota when Kyle Busch won in 2015. In addition to developing a strong Xfinity Series program to groom future NASCAR stars, JGR reached out to former NFL player Reggie White in 2004 to create a JGR diversity plan (prior to NASCAR's own Drive for Diversity program). JGR has fielded rides for Aric Almirola, Marc Davis and Darrell Wallace Jr.
Having grown up around football, J.D.'s first love was the sport that his father coached. After he graduated from Oakton High School in Virginia, Gibbs played defensive back and quarterback at the College of William & Mary, while his Hall of Fame father coached the Washington Redskins. J.D. helped William & Mary to two Division 1-AA playoff appearances and a ten-win season in his senior year. In the mid-1990s, J. D. started racing in the NASCAR Camping World East Series, as well as late-model events in North Carolina. As a NASCAR driver, he competed in eight races in the Craftsman Truck Series and five in the Busch (now Xfinity) Series.
Over the past twenty seven years of racing, JGR has won four Monster Engery Cup Series championships, and five Xfinity Series owner’s championships along with more than 300 NASCAR races, including four Brickyard 400s and two Daytona 500s. Its 2019 driver lineup will consist of Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., and Erik Jones in the Cup Series. Meanwhile Christopher Bell and Brandon Jones will each run fulltime in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, joining Cup drivers Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin who will run partial schedules.
J. D. Gibbs will be forever be missed by everyone associated with E3 Spark Plugs as well as our racing fan base worldwide. He is survived by his wife and four sons.
Artwork Courtesy of Joe Gibbs Racing
Visit Joe Gibbs Racing Facebook page for more on the legacy of JGR co-chairman and former NASCAR driver J.D. Gibbs.