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SVG: US racing scene more fun than Australia

Shane van Gisbergen is embracing the fun in US racing culture, something he says has been missing from the Supercars paddock in recent times.

Photo 7-8-2023, 1 23 26 pm

The three-time Supercars champion will depart the Aussie series at the end of the current season as he looks to build a new career in NASCAR.

He has already made a winning start to stock car racing with victory on the streets of Chicago, and will make a first oval start in the Truck Series this Friday night before a second Cup Series start on Sunday.

Speaking ahead of those next two outings, van Gisbergen opened up on the differences in racing culture between NASCAR and Supercars.

He said the Chicago weekend reminded him of how fun and well-natured the US paddocks are, something he feels is lacking in Supercars at the moment.

“After qualifying in Chicago, we were talking that night," he said.

"Dad was there and stuff... and just how fun the event was, the atmosphere, the cars in the paddock just under tents, accessible to everyone, you can see everyone’s stuff. It’s a whole different world.

"I remember doing the Rolex 24 a few years ago and you just forget how much fun the race culture is in America. It's intense and the switch flicks when it's time to go and get serious. But everyone’s here racing for the right reasons and enjoying it.

"That's just so much fun, and we’ve kind of been missing that a little bit in Australia lately.”

That van Gisbergen is somewhat jaded with Supercars is no great surprise, given he has come to blows with both the series and his own team on multiple occasions this year.

He has made little secret that he is no fan of the new Gen3 cars, something that drew the ire of top series officials at the season opener in Newcastle.

Van Gisbergen responded with a silent protest after winning the Sunday race.

There was then some confusion over the announcement of a new deal with Triple Eight that was presented as a multi-year arrangement, before he clarified that it actually only covered 2024.

There was more tension with the team in Townsville recently when van Gisbergen was ordered to let teammate Broc Feeney through late in Sunday's race.

At the same time, van Gisbergen did make it clear when confirming his intention to leave Supercars at the end of this season that it wasn't based on any disharmony with the team, and that he was actively helping find a suitable replacement.

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Van Gisbergen did offer some praise to Supercars, reiterating his stance that the series breeds drivers competitive enough to succeed in NASCAR.

That comes as Brodie Kostecki readies himself for his NASCAR debut at the Indianapolis road course this weekend, while Tickford ace Cam Waters is also eyeing a Stateside move.

“Brodie is another one who’s been vocal about wanting to be in here, and Cam Waters came and watched a race a couple of months ago, he wants to come over and have a crack," said van Gisbergen.

"I think he’d be perfect for it, and hopefully my result in Chicago and how we go this weekend keeps opening doors for us Kiwis and Aussies to come over here and have a crack.

"It’s a long world away, it’s hard to look outside your bubble sometimes, but I think there’s a place here for us – our series is very competitive so hopefully we can come and succeed here.”

Additional reporting by Charles Bradley

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