J.D. Gibbs, racing executive, dies at 49

J.D. Gibbs, the oldest son of former NFL coach Joe Gibbs and an auto racing executive, died Friday from complications of a degenerative neurological disease. He was 49.

Nearly four years ago, the Gibbs family announced J.D. had issues with brain function. At the time, J.D. Gibbs was president of Joe Gibbs Racing, having worked his way up from the pit crew.

Since the announcement of his death, NASCAR luminaries took to social media to remember the younger Gibbs. Among them was Denny Hamlin, whom Gibbs brought into the racing team. Hamlin has had Gibbs' name on the side of his car since the Daytona 500 in 2017.

"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," Hamlin tweeted Saturday morning.

Gibbs was named president of Joe Gibbs Racing in 1997 and when his father returned to coaching the Washington Redskins from 2004-07, he ran the day-to-day operations. He added Kyle Busch to the team roster during his tenure.

Busch tweeted: "Thank you for giving me the opportunity to succeed and for guiding me along the way. We won together and we lost together, but you had a way to light up a room and bring peace to all. It was truly an honor to call you a friend. Love you JD."

J.D. Gibbs played football at William and Mary from 1987-90 and also drove in 13 NASCAR races from 1998-2002.

Looking back on his brief racing career and his transition to team leader, Gibbs said this in 2014:

"My dad, he fired me in a nice way," Gibbs said. "He gave me an office and said, ‘Hey, you're now the president, because you're a horrible driver.' "

He leaves behind his wife, Melissa, and four children.

--Field Level Media

01/12/2019 12:07

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