Van Gisbergen paces first NASCAR practice

01 Jul
Supercars champion quickest in Chicago

Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen has put the NASCAR world on notice, setting the fastest time in opening practice in Chicago.

Van Gisbergen is making a cameo appearance in Trackhouse’s Project91 Chevrolet Camaro in the maiden NASCAR street race.

Despite having just a handful of testing laps at Charlotte’s road course, as well as simulator laps, van Gisbergen emerged fastest in practice.

It was a major statement from van Gisbergen in what was the first Cup Series running on the 3.5km, 12-corner circuit.

Van Gisbergen clocked 21 laps of the circuit, and proved 0.313s quicker than three-time Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin.

Jenson Button, himself making a cameo aboard his #15 Rick Ware Racing Ford Mustang, was third on the timesheets.

The 2009 Formula One world champion made his Cup Series debut earlier this year at Circuit of the Americas.

Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota duo Martin Truex Jr. and Christopher Bell were fourth and fifth.

2021 Cup Series champion Kyle Larson (Chevrolet) was the fifth and final driver within a second of van Gisbergen's benchmark.


The 50-minute session featured a crash for this year’s Daytona winner, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who found trouble at Turn 8.

Hendrick Motorsport's William Byron also clouted the wall early on, and ended up 14th fastest after repairs.

Austin Cindric (Ford) and Justin Haley (Chevrolet) also struck trouble, and were 31st and 26th respectively.

Through it all, van Gisbergen was quickest with a 1:29.419s lap at an average of 142.542 km/h (88.572mph).

Corey LaJoie (Chevrolet), Tyler Reddick (Toyota), Ty Gibbs (Toyota) and Brad Keselowski (Ford) rounded out the top 10.

The Chicago race, the Grant Park 220, will commence at 7:30am AEST on Monday.

Van Gisbergen will return to Australia after the race ahead of next weekend’s sixth Supercars round of 2023, the NTI Townsville 500.

Tickets for the Townsville event are on sale now.

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