The racing community is in mourning and the Gibbs family has lost an important pillar of their world.
In a press release on Friday, Joe Gibbs Racing informed the world of the saddest news fathomable. Team co-founder J.D. Gibbs has passed away at the age of 49 after a lengthy battle with a degenerative neurological disease.
Here is the statement from the organization:
“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Joe Gibbs Racing Co-Founder and Co-Chairman, J.D. Gibbs, who passed away earlier tonight at the age of 49 from complications following a long battle with a degenerative neurological disease.
“Joe Gibbs Racing appreciates everyone’s respect for the privacy of the Gibbs family during this difficult time.
“Additional information regarding details for a memorial service will be forthcoming at a future date.”
The Gibbs family business, before 1992 was football. But that all changed as legendary NFL head coach Joe Gibbs and his son J.D. formed Joe Gibbs Racing.
Over the past 25-plus years, the organization has become the gold standard for success in the highest form of auto racing in the United States, and a hefty percentage of that success came through the hard work of J.D.
At the age of 28, Gibbs also attempted becoming a race car driver himself. He competed in five NASCAR Xfinity Series races and eight NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series events before deciding he was better served running a race team.
Gibbs was right. The organization has won four Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championships and 157 race victories.
However, JGR would give that all up just to have J.D. back. The competition would probably gladly give up all of their championships and victories back as well if it meant they could spend another day with one of the greatest and kindest people that ever walked through the garage area.
Gibbs leaves behind his wife Melissa and four children Joe Jackson, William Miller, Jason Dean II and Zachary Taylor.
The NASCAR community reacted in droves to the news via Twitter.
His car. His number. His signature above my door. I will always be grateful for what His family did for mine and the opportunity he gave me 14 years ago. Now more than ever #doitforJD
— Denny Hamlin (@dennyhamlin) January 12, 2019
Devastated after hearing the passing of J.D. Gibbs 💔 I can’t begin to tell you all how incredible of a guy he was and there is no way I would be where I am today without him. That man made such an impact on the entire outcome of my life. You will forever be in our hearts
— Matt DiBenedetto (@mattdracing) January 12, 2019
My heart was saddened when I heard the news last night about JD Gibbs passing away. I can’t emphasize enough about what a positive impact JD was on my life. Prayers to all of the Gibbs family. 🙏🏻
— Bobby Labonte (@Bobby_Labonte) January 12, 2019
My heart goes out to the Gibbs family about JD’s passing this morning. He was always so kind and gracious to everyone.
— Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) January 12, 2019
If you want to know how to live life the right way and leave a legacy that will last forever-look no further than the example JD GIBBS set for all of us. A great leader, a man of faith, a family man and a friend. Rest In Peace JD.
— Steve O'Donnell (@odsteve) January 12, 2019
Sad morning on many levels… thinking of the Gibbs family. Many special memories with JD through the years.
— Matt Yocum (@MattYocum) January 12, 2019
So very sad to wake up to news of JD Gibbs. Class, integrity, intelligence, genuine, spiritual, leader are just of the many superlative descriptions I think of when I remember my experiences with JD. Prayers to Coach, all his family and everyone @JoeGibbsRacing. #RIP my friend.
— Winston Kelley (@WinstonKelley) January 12, 2019
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed the sport as a fan since 1993.