AVONDALE, Ariz. — Joey Logano held his 4-year-old son’s hand as they retrieved the checkered flag together Sunday at Phoenix Raceway. The previous night Ty Gibbs celebrated his victory with his father.
Fathers and sons form the bedrock of NASCAR. Allisons. Pettys. Jarretts. Elliotts. Earnhardts. Their bonds grew as they’ve entertained fathers and sons in the stands for years.
“I’m definitely proud of him,” Coy Gibbs said Saturday night of Ty. “I’ve always got his back as his father.”
Hours later, Coy Gibbs died in his sleep. He was 49.
“It’s just sad,” Logano said. “I don’t have words. … I feel for Ty more than anything.”
Logano spoke as 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 get the checkered flag. A NASCAR official gave it to Hudson, who skipped down the track still holding his father’s hand.
Hudson later was loaded into the No. 22 hot rod that his dad drove to victory. They went on a short father-son road trip, doing doughnuts on the way to victory lane.
“Ever since (Kevin) Harvick gave his son a ride in the car, I always wanted to do that with Hudson,” Logano said, referring to ride Harvick gave his son Keelan after winning at Michigan in Aug. 2019. “(Hudson is) such a little car guy. It was a special moment to ride together.”
That they got the share this moment was memorable for Logano, who says Hudson is “just a little me. I see so much of me in him.”
The 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 go-kart in the backyard,” Logano said. “We have a connection … we read car magazines. That’s his bedtime story. He wants to go through classic car magazines.”
Hudson will have much to talk about with his father before bedtime in the coming nights after sharing in the victory celebration.
Such moments are precious. Bill Elliott reflected this week upon his victory 20 years ago at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and celebrating with his son Chase, who was 6 years old at the time.
“I’m in Victory Lane at Indy in 2002 and now here you are 20 years later and here he is grown and doing his own thing,” Bill Elliott said.
“Life goes by so fast.”
While Hudson may only remember bits and pieces of this day, as he gets older, he’ll have plenty of photos and videos to see how he celebrated with his father. It’s something that 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 kids, you understand the love that you have for them. It’s truly unconditional love. To see him smiling and celebrate the moment together, it’s truly the most awesome feeling.
“And the fact that we can talk about. The first time I won (the championship in 2018), he was like nine months old. He didn’t know which way was up, could barely hold his head up. Now to see him running up there and grabbing the flag and going for a ride with me, couldn’t have picked a better race to do that for the first time.”
But even in such a moment, Logano could only imagine what Ty Gibbs and his family was going through.
“For the whole sport, it’s a sad day,” Logano said. “For me, it’s a bittersweet type of thing because here we are winning a championship, and here we are one of the people that’s a leader in our sport and someone I’ve known for a while is gone, and I don’t really know how to explain that and how hard that is.
“Obviously our prayers and thoughts go to the Gibbs family and everyone over at JGR. … I couldn’t imagine how Joe (Gibbs) feels right now.
“I don’t really know what else to say. It’s hard. I couldn’t imagine. I don’t know what it’s like. But for Ty to lose his dad, that’s just hard.”