How Did Joe Gibbs Get Into Racing? Early Interest in Racing and Eventual Start

Srijan Mandal

Over the decades, Joe Gibbs Racing has grown to become the top-tier team in NASCAR alongside teams like Hendrick Motorsports. But where did Joe Gibbs find the inspiration to get into NASCAR and how did he eventually get himself into team ownership? Speaking on an interview podcast the JGR bossman answered this very question.

Gibbs mentioned, “I grew up born here in North Carolina and spent my first 15 years here I had nothing to do with cars. It was all football, basketball and baseball. Loved it I went from one to the other playing them. But I moved to California when I was 16 and everybody in the southern California late 50s and early 60s it was hot rods and drag racing.” 

“And man I had every kind of hot rod you can think of, none of them expensive obviously. I think the most I ever paid for one was 800 bucks… But I was into hot rods and that was the culture. Then I got into drag racing… So thats where I fell into the fact that I love cars, I loved working on em.”

He then explained how both of his children became obsessed with motor racing. It was only after his elder son graduated college that asked Gibbs if they could do something as a family to get into racing. Gibbs said that they had nothing, adding, “Put a dream on a sheet of paper we had nothing. We had no cars no drivers nothing. Wound up on Norm Miller’s doorstep at Interstate batteries and he said let’s do this and it 30 years later.”

Before moving into NASCAR Joe Gibbs had found success as an NFL Coach

There is a reason why people fondly call the JGR bossman Coach Gibbs. That is because before he founded his five-time Cup Series title-winning race team, Gibbs used to be the head coach of the Washington Redskins.

Throughout his two stints in that position between, 1981-1992 and 2004-2007, Gibbs managed to get the team into nine playoff appearances, three Super Bowl championship wins, and four NFC championship title victories. Additionally, he also won NFL Coach of the Year twice in a row for the 1982 and 1983 seasons.

It was only after all of that, did Coach Gibbs decide to take the risk and make the jump to NASCAR as a team owner. Now fast forward to three decades since, he has managed to bring the same winning spirit and continues to push his winning team towards achieving more and more championships with future seasons.

Share this article

About the author

Srijan Mandal

Srijan Mandal

Srijan Mandal is a Senior NASCAR Analyst at The Sportsrush with a wealth of experience and expertise in the world of motorsports. With several thousand articles under his belt over the years, he has established himself as a leading authority on all things racing. His passion for motorsports started at a young age, and he has dedicated his career to covering the sport in all its forms. He is an expert in various disciplines, including stock car racing, American motorsports, Formula 1, IndyCar, NHRA, MotoGP, WRC, WEC, and several more. But Srijan's love for racing goes beyond his writing. He actively competes in professional open-wheel simulation racing, using the number 88 as his racing number. While he mostly participates in GT Endurance classes, he also ventures into Stock Car racing from time to time. In case, you wish to contact Srijan, kindly send an email to him at or just DM him on Twitter.

Read more from Srijan Mandal