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Public memorial service for J.D. Gibbs set for Jan. 25

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A public memorial service for J.D. Gibbs will be held at 11:30 a.m. ET Jan. 25 at Davidson College’s John M. Belk Arena in Davidson, North Carolina. Doors open at 10:30 a.m.

Gibbs, the eldest son of car owner Joe Gibbs, died Jan. 11 after a battle with a degenerative neurological disease. J.D. Gibbs was 49.

On a website honoring Gibbs’ legacy, it states that in lieu of flowers, the Gibbs family requests donations to the J.D. Gibbs Legacy Fund. The fund has been established to honor Gibbs and his passion for the Young Life Ministry, which he served as a member of the National Board.

The J.D. Gibbs Legacy Fund has two specific objectives that reflect J.D.’s passion for outreach:

  1. To ensure “every kid” in the greater Charlotte region can be reached with the gospel, the Fund will provide the support necessary to reach adolescents from all socioeconomic backgrounds, those with special needs, and teen moms.
  2. Young Life’s Windy Gap Camp in the mountains of N.C. has been a favorite of J.D.’s and his family for many years. Windy Gap is located just 15 miles north of Asheville, N.C. and the Fund will be used to support the construction of a new dining hall as well as additional facility improvements.

NASCAR community mourns death of J.D. Gibbs

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The NASCAR community was rocked by the death Friday of J.D. Gibbs, son of car owner Joe Gibbs and former president of Joe Gibbs Racing. J.D. Gibbs was 49.

The team stated that that Gibbs died after a long battle with a degenerative neurological disease.

Tributes poured in throughout NASCAR on social media.

J.D. Gibbs dies at 49

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J.D. Gibbs, the oldest son of car owner Joe Gibbs, died on Friday from complications following a long battle with a degenerative neurological disease, the team announced. J.D. Gibbs was 49.

The family revealed in March 2015 that J.D. Gibbs was suffering from brain-function problems but that doctors had no clear answer for it.

J.D. Gibbs celebrates a win by Denny Hamlin in the 2015 All-Star Race. (Photo: Dustin Long)

J.D. Gibbs was the president of Joe Gibbs Racing at the time, having done a variety of roles, including working on a pit crew with the organization.

“J.D. gains his strength from the fact that he has a personal relationship with the Lord, and I have got to tell you that he’s my hero when I kind of watch him,” Joe Gibbs said in 2015 at Martinsville Speedway. “I don’t know that anybody has ever deal with anything as courageous as J.D. does. He went through a situation with his son Taylor having leukemia at 2, and we fought through that for about three or four years … J.D. through his entire life has probably been the most courageous person that I’ve ever been around or knew.”

J.D. Gibbs was instrumental in helping Denny Hamlin join the organization when Hamlin was racing Late Models. Hamlin’s Xfinity car in last year’s race at Darlington Raceway honored Gibbs. Hamlin’s car was made to look like the car Gibbs drove in four Xfinity races in 1998.

Hamlin has displayed Gibbs name on the side of his car since the 2017 Daytona 500.

After winning the 2016 Daytona 500, Hamlin spoke of J.D. Gibbs: “He’s the guy that took a chance on me. This is the biggest win of my life. He’s not at every race. But to have him here with me today, that’s just how it was supposed to be, wasn’t it?”

In the tweet below from last year, Hamlin explained what J.D. Gibbs meant to him.

J.D. Gibbs was there at Joe Gibbs Racing from the beginning. He was named the organization’s president in 1997 and led the company from 2004-08 when Joe Gibbs returned to coaching in the NFL. Along with Hamlin, the company added Kyle Busch during J.D. Gibbs’ tenure.

Born Jason Dean Gibbs on February 21, 1969, J.D. as he became known, always had an outgoing personality and beaming smile. From 1987-’90, Gibbs played defensive back and quarterback at The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.

The father of four boys with his wife Melissa – Jackson, Miller, Jason, and Taylor – Taylor was diagnosed with childhood leukemia in 2007 at age 2. At age 5 in 2010, Taylor underwent his final chemotherapy treatment.

Jim France interim NASCAR Chairman and CEO, issued a statement on Gibbs:

“We were privileged to watch J.D. Gibbs grow within the sport, displaying an endearing personality, a keen eye for talent and the strong business acumen that helped grow Joe Gibbs Racing into a preeminent NASCAR team. The NASCAR family has lost a truly special member. On behalf of NASCAR and the France family, I extend my deepest condolences to Joe Gibbs, Pat, Melissa, Coy and the entire Gibbs family.”

Kelly Crandall and Daniel McFadin contributed to this report. 

Denny Hamlin honoring J.D. Gibbs with Xfinity throwback scheme at Darlington

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Denny Hamlin will use his throwback paint scheme for the Xfinity race at Darlington Raceway (Sept. 1 on NBCSN) to honor the man who helped bring him into the Joe Gibbs Racing family.

Hamlin will drive a scheme in honor of J.D. Gibbs, the son of team owner Joe Gibbs.

J.D. Gibbs drove the original scheme in four Xfinity races in 1998. He made five series starts overall.

Gibbs, a co-chairman of JGR and former team president, began receiving treatment in 2015 for speech and processing issues that were part of his overall brain function. The issues reportedly stem from his time playing football in college.

Hamlin has displayed Gibbs’ name on the driver side of his No. 11 Toyota in Cup since the 2017 Daytona 500.

In the below video posted to Twitter announcing the paint scheme, Hamlin explained how Gibbs discovered him on a cold night at Hickory Motor Speedway in Hickory, North Carolina. Their relationship led to Hamlin joining JGR in 2004.

His first start for the team came in the 2004 Xfinity race at Darlington.

JGR also announced Erik Jones‘ paint scheme for the Sept. 2 Southern 500.

The scheme on Jones’ No. 20 Toyota is a tribute to the Camping World Truck Series career of Jones’ spotter, Rick Carelli.

Denny Hamlin to honor J.D. Gibbs during upcoming Daytona 500

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When Denny Hamlin starts the 59th Daytona 500 on Feb. 26, not only will he attempt to defend his win in last year’s Great American Race, he’ll also have a good friend along for the ride.

Hamlin announced on Twitter that he will honor J.D. Gibbs, son of team owner Joe Gibbs, by putting J.D.’s initials on the driver’s side door of his No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry.

Although most fans know him as Denny, Hamlin’s initials are actually J.D., as well – for James Dennis – as he explains in the tweet/video he posted Tuesday.

For nearly two years, J.D. Gibbs has been undergoing treatment for speech and processing issues that are part of his overall brain function. The issues reportedly stem from J.D. Gibbs’ time playing football in college.

It was the younger Gibbs who discovered Hamlin and encouraged the elder Gibbs to sign the young Virginia driver to a contract.

The rest is history – and now Hamlin wants to make some more history for his good friend on Feb. 26.

Follow @JerryBonkowski