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For Ty Gibbs, 2022 was a prolific year. First, the 20 year-old powered to the Xfinity Series championship with the help of winning seven races. Along the way, Gibbs also found time to climb into the No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota Camry Cup Series car for the sidelined Kurt Busch. For 2023, Gibbs is in the No. 54 full-time and eager to make an impression.

Q: An exhibition race and the biggest race of the entire season are behind us. Some say the Cup season really begins now. What do you think?

TY GIBBS: Yeah, for sure. I think we had a really good run last weekend and we blew a tire with about 30 laps to go. We were in really good contention and we were in front of the No. 20, which was my teammate Christopher Bell, and he ended up finishing third. I really felt like we had a shot at it there at the end if we didn’t have a tire go down, but it is what it is. I’m excited for California, man. I fell really confident in my Monster Energy Toyota TRD Camry. A lot of words there! A lot of great words. I’m excited, man. I’m ready to go. I’m so pumped this season.

Q: What did you make of the Los Angeles Coliseum race? You had to deal with a fire issue during early practice on Sunday morning and wound up ultimately being scored 26th in the final. What was your takeaway from that event?

TG: There was a lot of bumping, I can tell you that. We had a really fast car. We were really quick in practice. We caught on fire and had to repair our car. The door panel kind of fell apart and we had to repair that and we missed qualifying. They wouldn’t let us qualify due to adjusting parts on the car, so we had to start from the back. We worked our way up and went to the heat race and had to start the LCQ and made our way into the main event. We were really strong but just couldn’t go anywhere. Eventually I got going real fast and was passing my teammates and they ended up causing a crash — I actually got taken out of the race because of that crash. It definitely kind of sucked, but it is what it is.

#54: Ty Gibbs, Joe Gibbs Racing, Monster Energy Toyota

Q: You’re now full-time in the Cup Series. You’re only 20 years old and both the Coliseum and Daytona 500 you competed in were both major events in which you drew a lot of attention. Can that be difficult at times? Can it be hard to concentrate and focus with so much coming at you?

TG: Not really, man. I feel like I grew up under a lot of pressure, so I’ve always been kind of used to that stuff. I feel really strong and it’s hammer down.

Q: Michigan International Speedway and Auto Club Speedway are both 2.0-mile, D-shaped ovals. You finished 10th in the Michigan Cup race last year. Will that help you out here?

TG: Yeah, great question. I feel like we’re going to be strong. I’ve been working with my crew chief Chris Gayle from last year and I feel like we’ve got a great bond working with each other for the last two or three years and I’m excited. Yes, we had a great run at Michigan last year. We should have done even better there but I got caught speeding in the pits while I was running in sixth place. That took us out of the mix to win. I was very proud of my run there. I’m excited to go into this weekend here in California  I mean, I want to go and win as much as I can this year and being better and figuring it all out every time I’m out there is very important.

Q: You have not been shy about stating you are absolutely out to win every time you fire up the car. You’re resolute on not just mixing in with the field?

TG Not one bit. Yeah, I just don’t put myself in contention to go compete in anything if I wasn’t going to have the chance to win. I want to win and I have the will to win. I don’t think there is a part of me that goes against that. I was not raised that way at all. For me, any time I go to compete, I always make sure I’m gong to win — 100-percent I’m there to win. I just feel like with the way my dad raised me and with the way that my mom and my grandfather and my family raised me, I think we just go out there and work as hard as we possibly can to try and win. That’s just my outlook on competition and life. I try to respect my competitors as much as I can, but I just go to win. I don’t think there is any other situation where I would not be going out there to win.

Q: Former champion Kurt Busch mentioned to me that he has been helping you out…

TG: Yeah, I love talking to Kurt. Kurt has been so helpful to me. I feel like’s almost been a big brother to me in a certain way during the last six months. In fact, make that a big help over the last nine months. He’s really cool and I actually spent a lot of time with Kurt while I was filling in for him. He’s been such a big help for me and I really appreciate him and credit him a lot for my career.

Q: A lot goes into being a Cup driver, both in and out of the car. Is it ever a bit much for you?

TG: I definitely feel like it is a lot, but I just enjoy it a lot and that kind if takes away from the stress and all of that. I mean, racing in its own way is stressful, but I think getting in the car and driving it has always been the same experience for me — I’ve always enjoyed it. I just keep going and I want to be able to win as much as I can. I love racing so much. If it’s on bicycles or on two wheels or four wheels or whatever it is. I just love racing.

Q: Fontana, Las Vegas and Phoenix over the next few weeks — how do you feel about these tracks and what you’ll face on them? 

TG: I feel like we were really strong in Vegas last year. The result didn’t show that but I felt like we were really strong there. I won a championship last November in Phoenix and I love that place. And Fontana, I felt really strong about that race last year, as well. I didn’t finish great — I wrecked myself there. These next few tracks that are coming up I am really excited for.

Q: You’re very young for a Cup driver. Do any of the older and maybe more experienced Cup drivers ever intimidate you at all?

TG: Yeah, I was definitely star struck a little bit getting into the Cup Series. But even going into the Cup Series, I’m going to win no matter who I am racing against. I got a taste of racing with the Cup guys during the Xfinity Series last year, so I kind of already had that a little bit. Being able to race with some of those guys the first time is really special.

Q: What are your early goals for 2023?

TG: For sure I think for me getting a couple of wins and going for a championship is the minimum for me. Like I said, I try to work as hard as I can and if there is stuff I haven’t been doing good at, I want to fix all of that and be the best possible driver that I can. I want to make a lot of progress. I don’t ever really think of goals. I just take it every lap by lap and have a hell of a time. I want to be a multi-time champion. I want to be in the Hall of Fame. I want to be an owner. I want to be driving a bunch of different cars. I just want to do it all. I have a lot of stuff that I want to do. I’m all in.