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Race report

Portland NASCAR Xfinity: Shane van Gisbergen beats Allgaier to first win

Shane van Gisbergen was already a NASCAR race winner but on Saturday he earned his first opportunity to battle for a championship.

Van Gisbergen, a three-time Supercars champion, passed leader Justin Allgaier with three of 75 laps remaining and held on to win Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Portland International Raceway.

Allgaier had dominated much of the race on the 1.97-mile, 12-turn road course, winning both stages and led a race-high 46 laps. He led the way to start the final stage while a slow pit stop left van Gisbergen fighting from behind.

Van Gisbergen moved into second with 13 laps to go but looked like he would come up one spot short until a late-race multi-car crash brought out a caution and set up the final restart with four laps to go. He edged Allgaier by 0.941 seconds at the checkered flag.

Watch: Shane van Gisbergen storms to Portland win for first Xfinity victory

The win is Van Gisbergen’s first in the series in 13 starts and locks him into the 2024 playoffs.

Van Gisbergen did a wild, lap-long burnout after his win and then autographed a rugby ball and kicked it into the front grandstands.

“Firstly, I want to say sorry to Sam Mayer for the first corner (of the race). I just mucked up there, very sorry,” van Gisbergen said. “What a day. It was really cool. We had some great racing. I need to get better on my restarts.

“It was just really cool racing. I love these cars.”

Last July, van Gisbergen became the first driver in more than 60 years to win a Cup race in his debut when he took victory in the inaugural Chicago Street Race driving for Trackhouse Racing.

The victory served as the instigator for the 35-year-old Kiwi to move to NASCAR competition this season, where he is racing full-time in Xfinity and part-time in Cup, both with Kaulig Racing.

Sammy Smith finished third, A.J. Allmendinger rallied from the rear of the field to finish fourth and former IndyCar driver Ed Jones rounded out the top five.

Completing the top 10 were Cole Custer, Josh Williams, Parker Kligerman, Parker Retzlaff and Riley Herbst.

Stage 1

With van Gisbergen’s decision to pit before the break, Allgaier inherited the lead and held off Herbst by 0.667 seconds to earn the Stage 1 win. Sheldon Creed was third, Josh Bilicki fourth and Kligerman fifth.

Sam Mayer, who started on the pole, lost the lead in the first turn of the first lap when he got spun by van Gisbergen and fell back to 27th place. He rallied to 12th at the end of the stage.

 

Stage 2

A last lap caution for the stopped car of Matt DiBenedetto locked in Allgaier’s Stage 2 win over Creed. Bilicki was third, Custer fourth and van Gisbergen rounded out the top five despite running off course twice.

Stage 3

During the break between Stages 2 and 3, the lead lap cars all pit under the modified pit procedures with Allgaier first off pit road. Van Gisbergen had a slow stop and lost five positions.

The race returned to green with 20 laps remaining as Allgaier led Creed and Bilicki. Van Gisbergen restarted 10th.

Creed powered into the lead on the restart as the field entered Turns 1 and 2 but Allgaier nearly replicated the move to reclaim the top spot one lap later.

 

Van Gisbergen worked his way around Creed to move into the runner-up position with 13 laps to go but remained about 2.6 seconds behind the leader.

Hailie Deegan lost a tire on the track which forced NASCAR to throw caution for debris. That set up a restart with nine laps remaining and Allgaier out front of van Gisbergen and Mayer.

A six-car pile-up in Turn 12 on lap 68 knocked out contenders Chandler Smith and Brandon Jones, whose car got buried in the tire barrier. Creed was penalized on the previous restart which left Allgaier ahead of van Gisbergen and Mayer on the restart with four laps to go.

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