As Washington’s coach, Joe Gibbs won three Super Bowls. And with Denny Hamlin winning the Daytona 500 yesterday, Gibbs has now won a pair of NASCAR’S Super Bowls as an owner.
But of the lot of them, this one might have been the most special for him, as his son Jason Dean Gibbs undergoes tests and treatments for symptoms which impact his brain function.
J.D. was there in victory lane yesterday, and able to share the moment with his family on his 47th birthday, at the top of his sport. But for the last year, doctors have searched for answers about the source of the symptoms that impact his speech and processing ability, which some have suggested stemmed from a youth of playing football and racing cars and participating in extreme sports, and the attendant head injuries.
“He’s grateful,” Joe Gibbs said of his son, via Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel. “This is a great birthday present for J.D.”
It’s an emotional time for the family, as J.D. Gibbs’ brain issues come after his youngest son Taylor overcame leukemia as a toddler, a source of inspiration now that he’s 11 and recovered.
“This is big for our family today,” Joe said.
But as J.D. had to step away from the day-to-day operations of the race team, his father took back over, making Hamlin’s win a chance for them to celebrate together, joking about a trip to Steak N Shake, as they did after their first Daytona 500 win in 1993.
“To have somebody go through what J.D.’s going through, . . . and have all the tough times. Never to complain. Not once, not once,” Joe Gibbs said. “I know I’m not strong enough to do that and he is.”
Of course, J.D. had to learn it from someone.