In fact, three of the biggest storylines of the season were completely heartbreaking. two related to the death of pillars of the NASCAR community; The other concerned the early retirement necessitated by a nagging brain injury.
This trio of developments will forever tarnish the 2022 NASCAR season, and we’ll look at them again after that.
Coy Gibbs’ death at the end of the season rocked the NASCAR world
There is no doubt that the most shocking and tragic event of the 2022 NASCAR season is involved Coy Gibbs dieswho unexpectedly passed away in his sleep just hours before the final race of the Cup Series.
The son of NASCAR Hall of Fame team owner Joe Gibbs and father of 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion Ty Gibbs, Coy was vice chairman and chief operating officer of Joe Gibbs Racing, the company his father founded in 1993 after winning three Super Bowls as coach of the NFL’s Washington Redskins.
The news of Coy’s death on the morning of the season finale in Phoenix was no less than a A shock to the world of NASCAR. It was nothing short of devastating to his family and those in the industry who knew him well.
Coy, who was expected to take over the reigns for Joe Gibbs Racing sometime in the not too distant future, was just 49 years old. He leaves behind a wife, four children, and a company full of workers whose lives would never be the same without him.
NASCAR has lost a true legend with the death of Broughton Smith
Several months before the death of Coy Gibbs, the NASCAR world lost an icon and a giant with the passing of a NASCAR Hall of Famer and Founder of Speedway Motorsports Broughton Smith.
Smith, who died on June 22 at the age of 95, was a well-known visionary and businessman whose accomplishments included opening the Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1959. Later, he oversaw more than 10 charismatically owned and operated racetracks under the Speedway Motorsports umbrella.
Forty years ago, Smith also founded Speedway Children’s Charity, a nonprofit organization that specializes in providing financial resources to hundreds of nonprofit organizations across the United States to meet the needs of children. You can watch Smith’s memorial service in full below:
An injury forced Kurt Busch to withdraw very early
While the deaths of Smith and Gibbs stand out as the saddest news stories of the 2022 NASCAR season, Kurt Busch’s earlier-than-expected retirement from full-time Cup Series racing has been difficult for many people.
The 20-plus-year-old Cup series veteran, who joined 23XI Racing starting in 2022, planned to run at least two full seasons for the Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan-owned organization before likely calling it quits at the end of the following season. general.
Unfortunately, Busch’s plans took a dramatic turn on July 23 at Pocono Raceway. His No. 45 Toyota slid into the wall at high speed when the rear of the car went off during a qualifying lap.
Although the crash was not particularly severe, Busch began experiencing concussion-like symptoms that forced him to miss this weekend’s race and the rest of the season. Finally, at Las Motor Speedway in October, Busch shared the news his fans had been dreading: His days as a full-time Cup driver were ended due to the lingering effects of his concussion nearly three months earlier.
An emotional Bush called a press conference in Vegas, his home track, to say he might do so Run specific cup races in the future But that was the end of the road in his full-time career, which started at Roush Fenway Racing in 2001.
The 44-year-old finished his career with 34 Cup Series wins, including a win in the 2017 Daytona 500 and the 2004 championship. Unfortunately, we’ll likely never know how many wins and championships Busch had in the tank if injury hadn’t reared its ugly head.