AVONDALE, Arizona — Joey Logano held his 4-year-old son’s hand as they took the checkered flag together on Sunday at Phoenix Raceway. The night before Ty Gibbs celebrated his victory with his father.
Parents and children form the foundation of NASCAR. Allisons. Pettys. Jarrett. Elliot. Earnhardts. Their bonds grew as they entertained parents and children in the stands for years.
“I’m definitely proud of him,” Coy Gibbs said Saturday night of Ty. “I have always defended him as his father.”
Hours later, Coy Gibbs died in his sleep. He was 49 years old.
“It’s just sad,” Logano said. “I have no words. … I feel for Ty more than anything.
Logano spoke like a newly crowned two-time Cup champion after winning Sunday’s season finale at Phoenix Raceway. He celebrated with Hudson, the oldest of Logano’s three children.
They walked hand in hand to pick up the checkered flag. A NASCAR official gave it to Hudson, who walked down the track still holding his father’s hand.
Hudson was later loaded onto the #22 hot rod that his father drove to victory. They took a short trip from father to son, making donuts on the way to victory lane.
🇧🇷Ever since (Kevin) Harvick gave his son a ride in the car, I’ve always wanted to do that with Hudson,” Logano said, referring to the ride Harvick gave his son Keelan after winning Michigan in August 2019. (Hudson is) such a small car guy. It was a special moment for us to ride together.”
That they were able to share this moment was memorable for Logano, who says Hudson is “just a little bit me. I see a lot of myself in him.”
An affinity for cars is a bond they share.
“Every night before he goes to bed, he wants to talk about race cars and he wants to talk about his kart in the backyard,” Logano said. “We have a connection… we read car magazines. This is his bedtime story. He wants to go through classic car magazines.”
Hudson will have a lot to talk about with his father before bed for the next few nights after sharing in the victory celebration.
These moments are precious. Bill Elliott reflected this week on his victory 20 years ago at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and celebrating with his son Chase, who was 6 at the time.
“I’m on Victory Lane at IndyCar in 2002 and now here you are 20 years later and here he is all grown up and doing his own thing,” said Bill Elliott.
“Life goes by so fast.”
While Hudson may only remember bits and pieces of this day, as he gets older he will have plenty of photos and videos to see how he celebrated with his father. It’s something the 32-year-old Logano will never forget.
“I always dreamed of winning with him here because I always wanted to take him for a ride,” Logano said.
“If you have children, you understand the love you have for them. It is truly unconditional love. Seeing him smiling and celebrating the moment together is truly the most incredible feeling.
“And the fact that we can talk. The first time I won (the championship in 2018), he was about nine months old. He didn’t know which way he was, he could barely keep his head up. Now to see him running up there and taking the flag and riding around with me, I couldn’t have picked a better race to do it for the first time.”
But even at such a moment, Logano could only imagine what Ty Gibbs and his family were going through.
“For the whole sport, it’s a sad day,” Logano said. “For me it’s kind of a bittersweet thing because here we are winning a championship, and here we are one of the people who is a leader in our sport and someone I’ve known for a while is gone, and I really don’t know how to explain it and how this is. it’s difficult.
“Obviously our prayers and thoughts go out to the Gibbs family and everyone at JGR. … I couldn’t imagine how Joe (Gibbs) feels right now.
“I really don’t know what else to say. It’s difficult. I couldn’t imagine. I do not know how it is. But for Ty to lose his father, this is hard.”