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NASCAR stars shocked by van Gisbergen 'clinic'

02 Jul 2023
'He made me look bad, and I kind of think the rest of us, too'
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A host of NASCAR stars have shared their shock in the performance of Shane van Gisbergen, who beat his highly-fancied rivals to victory in this debut race.

Three-time Supercars champion van Gisbergen, in his first Cup Series start, won the inaugural street race in Chicago on Monday (AEST).

While many of the NASCAR field knew what van Gisbergen was capable of, they were still impressed by how he pieced together a smart win — on debut, no less.

Van Gisbergen, racing Trackhouse’s Project91 Camaro, topped practice and qualified third for the 100-lap race.

Rain and darkness reduced the distance to 75 laps, but van Gisbergen — who was as low as 18th — carved through to take the lead with five laps remaining.

He held of Justin Haley in Overtime to win, sending the motorsport world into a frenzy.

2020 Cup Series champion Elliott, who finished third, said: “He was in a league of his own, and in my opinion, put on a really big-time clinic.

"I don’t want to speak for everybody else, but he made me look bad, and I kind of think the rest of us, too.

“He’s going to go home and tell all of his friends how bad we are.”

2021 Cup Series champion Kyle Larson was fourth, and like many, was passed by van Gisbergen late in the race.

“It was so fun to watch from my view,” Larson said.

“When he got to my back bumper, I felt like I pieced together a really good section.

"I thought for sure I’d look in the mirror and I was going to be like two car lengths or something in front of him, and he was glued to my back bumper.

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"I was like, ‘Holy shit, this guy is flying’. He was able to get by me, and then I got to watch the show."

2012 Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski tweeted: “I'll be honest. Didn’t know who he was when walking beside him Saturday am.

"But I dang sure do now! Nice win man.”

Kyle Busch, who finished fifth, knew of van Gisbergen’s prowess given the duo worked together at Daytona in 2020.

“He’s probably, I don’t know, four, five, eight years ahead of us in this sort of car in the things that he’s done with the V8 Supercars,” Busch said.

“I’ve worked with him before as a teammate with the Lexus program down at the Daytona 24 Hours.

“Yeah, saw he was talented in that car. We were all really fast, so he always kept probably the quickest time for the team the whole time we were down there for Daytona.

"He is no slouch. I knew he would be good when he came over."

Van Gisbergen will now return to Australia for the next round of the 2023 Repco Supercars Championship, the NTI Townsville 500. Tickets are on sale now.

Townsville will be broadcast live on the Seven Network on the Saturday and Sunday of the event.

It will be broadcast live on Foxtel (Fox Sports 506) and streamed on Kayo on all three days.

International fans can live stream every Supercars race and qualifying session live and uninterrupted on SuperView.

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