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NASCAR Cup Chicago

Chastain wants “another crack” at NASCAR street race star SVG in Chicago

Road course “animal” Shane van Gisbergen goes into this weekend’s Chicago street race as stand-out favorite after last year’s shock win

Shane van Gisbergen, Trackhouse Racing, Enhance Health Chevrolet Camaro

Shane van Gisbergen, Trackhouse Racing, Enhance Health Chevrolet Camaro

Photo by: David Rosenblum / NKP / Motorsport Images

Trackhouse’s Ross Chastain says this weekend’s NASCAR Cup race at the Chicago Street Course gives him “another crack” at racing road-course star colleague Shane van Gisbergen.

Van Gisbergen won last year’s rain-impacted inaugural event on the streets of Chicago after an epic charge to the front in the final stint, setting fastest lap by 0.85s in Trackhouse’s Project 91 entry to win by 1.25s over Justin Haley in overtime.

Now a full-timer in the second-tier Xfinity Series, Trackhouse-contracted van Gisbergen is also contesting a partial Cup Series program with Kaulig Racing and will pilot its No. 16 entry as NASCAR returns to Chicago this weekend.

Chastain – who has yet to win a Cup race this season but has four career victories to his name – finished only 22nd 12 months ago and has spent time with SVG learning how to improve his technique on NASCAR’s only street circuit.

“He’s just such a great guy and he’s got little tidbits here and there,” said Chastain. “He is an animal when it comes to road courses and we’ve seen that with his two Xfinity wins already this season. He’s that good.

“It’s intentionally placing the car where he wanted to place it, and I was trying to place it kind of between the walls and he was placing it at the wall, maximizing left and right.

“It's easy to say it, but really hard to do it.”

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Ross Chastain, Trackhouse Racing, Busch Country Chevrolet Camaro

Ross Chastain, Trackhouse Racing, Busch Country Chevrolet Camaro

Photo by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images

Chastain has realized that van Gisbergen’s approach to maximizing his time in the Chevrolet simulator was a key part of his success, and confirms he’s put more effort into that side ahead of this year’s event.

“Well, he’s a machine when it comes to preparation,” Chastain added. “I would say he’s kind of leading the charge for us in the simulator and getting it how he thinks it will be.

“But the streets up there will have changed and we’re all honest with each other that the simulator is a tool. At least I’ll have that to go off of, though.

“Last year, I’ll be honest, that I didn’t put enough stock in his simulator prep but this year I definitely have.”

Ross Chastain, Trackhouse Racing, AdventHealth Chevrolet Camaro

Ross Chastain, Trackhouse Racing, AdventHealth Chevrolet Camaro

Photo by: Lesley Ann Miller / Motorsport Images

When asked what he was most looking forward to at Chicago, Chastain replied: “Getting another crack at it, as SVG would say!

“Definitely not the result I wanted last year. Didn’t feel comfortable, didn’t make a lot of speed, couldn’t pass and really struggled. It was a concrete canyon feeling and the walls were really close to the left and right of the racing line.

“Looking forward to getting another shot and seeing if I can do better.”

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