What can’t Joe Gibbs do?
On Friday night, the three-time Super Bowl champion and five-time NASCAR champion became the first individual to be inducted into the Pro Football and NASCAR Hall of Fames.
Former President of the United States George W. Bush and current drivers Kyle Busch (two-time and reigning champion) and Denny Hamlin introduced the Hall of Famer prior to a tribute video being played.
His son, Coy, presented his father with the ceremonial ring.
Gibbs' accolades as a team owner include over 170 premier series wins, five championships, three Daytona 500 wins and being the winningest Xfinity Series owner, including two championships.
Gibbs’ induction came alongside four other members in the 2020 class, including former Joe Gibbs Racing champions Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte, as well as Waddell Wilson and Buck Baker.
Stewart and Labonte amassed 62 wins and three titles in their time driving for JGR, and Gibbs credited them with “really (helping) build (the) race team.”
Gibbs shared many stories during his speech, including a conversation he had with “The King” Richard Petty ahead of their team debut in 1992.
“I knew that Richard Petty was a huge Redskins fan,” Gibbs recalled. “I said what better a guy to get advice from? So I called him, asked him if I could come down for a meeting, and I’ll always remember this meeting.
“He sat me down in a small chair, he was sitting in this high chair, I’m looking up at him, after a few minutes he goes ‘what do you need?’ I said ‘Richard, I’m thinking of starting a race team.’ He goes ‘What! Why would you do that?’ Caused me to back up a little bit, but we wound up moving ahead,” he said with a chuckle.
The success of the team has only risen since then, including a banner 2019 campaign with 19 wins, a new record for an organization, putting three of his four drivers in the Championship 4 and bringing home the trophy to boot.
Gibbs called 2019 “the best year yet” despite the loss of his son J.D. Gibbs.
The aforementioned Hamlin was discovered by J.D. in Manassas, Virginia in Hamlin’s teenage years while racing on local short tracks. The connection was forged immediately.
J.D. wore No. 11 in football, Hamlin raced in car No. 11, J.D. passed away on January 11 and was honored in the 2019 Daytona 500 on Lap 11.
And wouldn’t you know it, with J.D Gibbs’ name above Hamlin’s door, he won his second career Daytona 500.
“That was the greatest victory me, my family have ever been a part of, will ever be a part of,” an emotional Gibbs said. “J.D. is with us and for us to finish this year with Kyle and a championship, it was a dream season for us ... We all felt J.D. was there with us.”
"I really believe God was there, and he had J.D. by his side."@CoachJoeGibbs called the 2019 Daytona 500 win with @DennyHamlin the greatest win he's ever had, and ever will have. #NASCARHOF pic.twitter.com/8VCR2qj61F— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) February 1, 2020
He tied his time as head coach of the Washington Redskins into his success as a NASCAR team owner by crediting the folks around him.
“Just get good people around you and it’s gonna be okay,” Gibbs said.
It’s safe to say Coach Gibbs has done a little better than okay. His two Hall of Fame plaques speak for themselves.
Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.
MORE REDSKINS NEWS