Over in Full Circle, I dissect the loss of the Joe Gibbs Racing MX team. Private teams keep folding, and due to bigger issues than you think. External forces are at work here, like Google sucking up the ad budgets of so many brands. A logo on a radiator shroud simply isn’t as effective a pitch as a targeted, clickable, trackable ad link on your phone. Nothing is. That’s why Google dominates.
Were they possibly locked in a rental car with some pathological liar?
But that’s the business stuff. JGRMX was much more than a business. This was a big team based in North Carolina, and most of the staff moved from California to join. Everything about their life—their houses, friends, neighborhoods, and their kids’ schools—were all in place because of this team. Coy Gibbs was the lifeblood of it. Coy is awesome. I don’t see him nearly as much anymore because, tragically, his brother JD passed away in early 2019, leaving Coy with much more responsibility on JGR’s NASCAR side. But I’ve got stories for days from Coy’s involvement. Mind you, I never even worked for JGR; I was just an industry friend who usually ended up on the same flights every weekend. Coy would take people in, though.
A few years ago, I was at the San Diego airport checking in for my redeye flight home. When the flight got cancelled, I was in a panic. Incredibly, I looked to my right and saw Coy Gibbs at the next counter, finding out the same news. He had been in town for meetings with Toyota. We were now stuck with no way home until tomorrow.
Or maybe not. Coy asked if American Airlines had any redeyes out of Los Angeles. They did, but we had to get there quickly. So Coy told me to grab that flight and he would rent a car one way, speed up to LAX, and make it.
That was nice of him, but watch what happened next. As Coy started searching his phone for rental-car availability, we heard the couple behind us at the ticket counter struggling with the same canceled flight. Coy turned to these two complete strangers and told them to get the LAX flight and hop in with us in the rental car. We must have looked trustworthy, because they decided to do it! Minutes later, all four of us were stuffing luggage into the rental and Coy was hauling butt up to LAX.
“Don’t worry, I used to be a professional race car driver,” Coy said, leading the husband to ask, “Really?”
“Yeah, in NASCAR.” Then he threw in a standard-level Coy dig, telling the couple that he “actually did stuff in life, unlike Weigandt over here, who just watches stuff and types about it on a computer.” (Which is . . . exactly what I’m doing right now.)
The husband seemed impressed but admitted he wasn’t much of a car racing fan. He used to play football.
“I played football on scholarship for Stanford,” Coy said. “I worked for an NFL team too.”
Those NASCAR and football stories seemed so implausible that, for the first time, the couple started to squirm. Were they possibly locked in a rental car with some pathological liar? As we zoomed through Southern California, Coy pointed out various areas there where he had lived and worked. Then we shifted the conversation to home—North Carolina—where again Coy listed off a variety of places he had lived. He threw some Washington, D.C.-area real estate talk into the convo. Yup, this guy was probably psycho.
Coy dropped the couple off at the door of the airport before we returned the rental car. I whispered to the husband, “He’s Coy Gibbs. You know, Gibbs, as in Coach Joe Gibbs.” The man’s jaw dropped—and we took off. Coy got us all home, never explaining why, never asking for a thank-you. And it was hilarious. That’s what you get when Coy is around.