OAKLAND -- In another life, Coy Gibbs would be going to Saturday's motocross at the Coliseum as a fan.
Instead, he'll be there as the leader of the Joe Gibbs Racing Motocross team, hoping to come out big in the Monster Energy AMA Supercross.
Gibbs, a linebacker at Stanford from 1991-94, has spent his life torn between football and motor sports. His dad, former Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs, likes to joke that Coy is the only person ever to spend four years at Stanford and emerge as a mechanic.
It's a good line, and mostly accurate. Gibbs, who'd been a BMX rider as a kid and had always shared his father's passion for auto sports, went to work as a mechanic for his dad's drag racing team. That was just a setup for Coy Gibbs becoming a racer himself, first as a drag racer in the late 1990s and then in NASCAR in 2000.
"I've always loved drag racing and still do," Gibbs said. "I got into (NASCAR) racing and found that I wasn't good enough. Basically, I fired myself. Then I went back to doing what I'd always thought I'd be doing ... football."
Gibbs joined his father in 2004 as an assistant coach with the Washington Redskins. And when current 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh was putting together his first coaching staff at Stanford before the 2007 season, current Cardinal coach David Shaw tried to lure Gibbs back to Palo Alto as an assistant.
"I played with David, who was a year ahead of me at Stanford, and it was his father, Willie Shaw, who recruited me," Gibbs said. "David lobbied me, but I decided against it. I needed to get out of the football arena. It's a better life for me, more time to see my kids."
The two remain close. Gibbs visited with Shaw at the Rose Bowl earlier this month, and Shaw has seen Gibbs' teams compete.
Gibbs, who runs his racing team out of North Carolina, won't do any of the driving Saturday. Those days are long gone. He's recruited a stable of drivers, and two of them, Josh Grant and Justin Brayton, will carry the Gibbs banner at the all-day event.
The day starts with as many as five dozen racers running in the qualifying, about 44 of whom will make the night finals.
The Coliseum has been remodeled this week for the event with 400 truckloads of dirt to create the peaks, valleys and jumps that motocross motorcycle riders must navigate. The track takes two or three days to put together, then is dismantled within 24 hours of the event's completion.
Then it's on to the next race.
Gibbs, who saw his rider James Stewart win in the Coliseum in 2012, will follow the races closely, of course. But he'll also be talking with sponsors and potential sponsors, agents for riders and manufacturers during the course of the day.
It's not football, but it's not bad.
"Fans can come right into the pit area and kind of interact with the riders and crew during the practice sessions," Gibbs said. "The main show at night, however, is different, totally. It's like a football game that's packed into 30 minutes. There's a lot of energy there."
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Monster Energy AMA Supercross, finals start at 7 p.m., O.Co Coliseum. TV: 7:30 p.m., Fox Sports 1