SVG backs Waters, Brown to be 'pretty competitive'

07 Jun
Shane van Gisbergen talks old rivals' Cup debut hopes, spotting for Will Brown
  • Cam Waters, Will Brown will make NASCAR Cup debuts this week

  • Shane van Gisbergen expects duo to be "pretty competitive"

  • Van Gisbergen recently won first Xfinity Series race

Shane van Gisbergen has backed former Supercars sparring partners Cam Waters and Will Brown to be "pretty competitive” in their NASCAR Cup Series debuts.

Supercars championship leader Brown and Ford rival Waters will compete at this weekend’s Cup Series race at the Sonoma road course.

From pit stop practice to simulator running, Brown and Waters have spent the week preparing, before they get a taste of the real thing on Saturday morning (AEST).

Van Gisbergen — who last year beat Cup Series stars on debut in Chicago — won’t race against his old mates, but having spent years trying to beat them, the Kiwi believes they will be in with a shot against NASCAR's best.

The betting market agrees — NASCAR.com has listed Brown with 28-1 odds to win the race, with Waters 65-1.

Van Gisbergen — who will be a spotter for Brown — said extended practice time could play into their hands, with Sonoma recently undergoing major resurfacing works.


"I always wanted to try NASCAR one day and go there, and then now it seems like the floodgates are open a bit,” van Gisbergen told media this week.

"I'm certainly jealous of them, you know, I wish I was doing that race with them, it'd be fun.

"I'm going to be spotting for Will this weekend, which will be cool to see what that side of it's like.

"I’m excited for those guys more than anything, just to see how they'll go. They get a long practice — 50 minutes — and a new, freshly sealed racetrack.

“So yeah, I think those guys will be pretty competitive, and I hope they are as well."

Waters, who finished runner-up to van Gisbergen in the 2022 Supercars season, caught up with the New Zealander in April at Martinsville, where the Tickford Racing star made his Truck Series debut.

Waters vs van Gisbergen: The best battles

After Brown and Waters returned to the States this week, the trio dined together to celebrate Brown’s birthday, just after Van Gisbergen joined his Triple Eight predecessor at the GM Tech Center.

Van Gisbergen — who claimed his first Xfinity Series win last weekend — also joked with media that he initially shot down Brown’s offer to be his spotter: “He just asked me if I wanted to do it, and I said no straight away, because I don't really like talking that much!

“But then he said I'd be the secondary spotter, not the main one, which is only one corner, so I should be able to handle that.

"Should be a good place to watch as well down there."

Waters and Brown will hit the track at Sonoma for a single practice session on Friday (7:00am AEST Saturday) followed by Qualifying on Saturday (8:00am AEST Sunday).

This weekend's race, the Toyota/Save Mart 350, will kick off at 12:30pm local time Sunday/5:30am AEST on Monday, and will be broadcast live in Australia on Foxtel and Kayo.

Waters and Brown will return to Australia after their Sonoma cameos for Round 5 of the 2024 Repco Supercars Championship in Darwin. The betr Darwin Triple Crown will be held on June 14-16. Tickets for the event are on sale now.

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