Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Australia Australia
NASCAR Cup Chicago

Van Gisbergen: Repeating Chicago Cup win "going to be tough"

Shane van Gisbergen is under no illusions repeating his shock NASCAR Cup victory at the Chicago Street Course will be an easy task.

Van Gisbergen became the first driver in more than 60 years to win in his Cup series debut with his win last year in the series’ inaugural street race while driving for Trackhouse Racing.

The win helped launch the three-time Supercars champion’s full-time move this year to NASCAR, where he is running full-time in the Xfinity Series and also running a partial Cup schedule, including Sunday’s return to the 2.2-mile, 12-turn Chicago street course.

While van Gisbergen has more NASCAR experience this season, his fellow competitors do as well, and teams have had a year to prepare for a return visit.

In addition, the weather conditions this weekend – sunny and dry compared to rain and standing water which necessitated wet weather tires in last year’s race – will allow for double-file restarts, which NASCAR called off last season.

“I think here, it’s a little different with where (the restart zone) is placed. You kind of get going just before the last corner, so it’s a huge advantage to be the first guy,” van Gisbnergen said Friday. “You’ll be clear by the exit.

“But yeah, if you’re third row back, it’s going to be carnage – maybe not carnage – but difficult to stay clean through there. I think that worked out pretty well last year. But this year, it’s going to be tough.”

Race winner Shane van Gisbergen, Trackhouse Racing, Chevrolet Camaro

Race winner Shane van Gisbergen, Trackhouse Racing, Chevrolet Camaro

Photo by: David Rosenblum / NKP / Motorsport Images

Van Gisbergen said he’s since gone back and watched last year’s rain shortened Xfinity race on the course to get an idea how restarts may play out.

“They got through it very cleanly, but the outside guy lost positions every time. So, it’s going to be a fight to be on the right-hand side and try to not give too much up to get there, I think,” he said.

“I think it’ll be different than on the ovals. On the ovals, it’s crazy the way everyone races here (in NASCAR); takes 50-50’s. They pretty much take all 50-50’s – get involved in a crash or they don’t.

“I’m a bit more reserved, at the moment, for that, I think.”

A closer fight

Van Gisbergen, who will run both the Xfinity and Cup races this weekend, said he expects his counterparts in the Cup series will be more familiar with the street course this season, which will negate some of his advantage from last year.

While still learning on ovals, van Gisbergen continues to show his prowess on road courses, having won back to back races this season in the Xfinity Series to qualify for the playoffs in his rookie year.

“There’s definitely going to be less gap between the front guys now. Now that everyone’s experienced it going back again and there’s a lot more footage to study and the sims are probably better,” he said.

“I think my strength was my proximity to the walls. I was a lot more confident to be closer to the walls. You know, I’ve grown up doing street circuits, so I was kind of used to that. I think this year everyone’s going to be pushing a lot harder.”

Read Also:

Be part of Motorsport community

Join the conversation
Previous article 2024 NASCAR at Chicago schedule, entry list, and how to watch
Next article NASCAR formally unveils its EV prototype race car at Chicago

Top Comments

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Australia Australia