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Analysis
NASCAR Cup Chicago Street Course

Lap-by-lap breakdown of Van Gisbergen's drive from 18th to 1st

Shane van Gisbergen started Sunday's race on the streets of Chicago from third on the grid, but he ended up having to make an epic march through the field in order to claim the checkered flag.

The Supercars ace ran amongst the top-five throughout the first two stages, showing a lot of patience in the wet conditions.

When NASCAR's decision to shorten the race by 25 laps upended the running order, Van Gisbergen was among those who now found themselves mired deep in the pack.

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Lap 47: SVG entered the pits in fourth position, and restarted 18th. The race distance was now 75 laps, and he had a lot of work to do if he wanted to get back to the front.

Lap 49: After a couple drivers spun exiting Turn 11, the track quickly became blocked with cars. Van Gisbergen nearly came to a stop, getting rear-ended by A.J. Allmendinger as he found a path through the chaos. He passed eight cars, but was put back to 18th after NASCAR went to the previous scoring loop to help sort the running order.

Lap 53: After the race restarted, Van Gisbergen began his charge forward by passing his Trackhouse teammate Daniel Suarez into Turn 4 for 17th place. Suarez would actually get into the back of SVG a couple corners later, damaging his own car in the process. On the same lap into Turn 7, SVG would overtake Bubba Wallace for 16th.

Lap 54: Van Gisbergen dispatched Michael McDowell for 15th with another dive into Turn 4, followed quickly by an inside move on Corey LaJoie entering Turn 6. He was now up to 14th.

Lap 55: A clean pass to the inside of former Cup champion Kevin Harvick under braking into Turn 1 secured him 13th on track.

Lap 56 (20 laps to go): Christopher Bell, who had led the most laps, spun and gifted another position to SVG. Soon after, the New Zealander passed William Byron on the outside, clearing him before they got into Turn 2. He was now knocking on the door of the top-ten. By the end of the lap, he got there, passing Aric Almirola.

Lap 58: SVG passed Kyle Larson on the outside between Turns 1 and 2, identical to the move he made on Larson's teammate a couple laps prior. Tyler Reddick found the barriers, gifting him yet another spot. Van Gisbergen was now eighth, but almost ten seconds behind the race leaders. However, Reddick's stricken car forced a caution and the entire field was brought back together.

Lap 61: Van Gisbergen continued his charge on the restart, now catching cars that had vaulted to the front of the field earlier via strategy. SVG was faster, and he had fresher tires than the cars he was battling now. But despite passing Austin Cindric into Turn 2, the Team Penske driver would snatch the position back later in the lap. SVG got bumped from behind by Larson as the aggression level began to ratchet up. A mistake from Ty Gibbs in the final corner allowed SVG to move up into seventh.

Lap 62: While battling for the race lead, Austin Dillon slammed the wall exiting the final corner. The race stayed green, but SVG was now up to sixth after Dillon's mistake. He set his sights back on Cindric for another go at the driver of the No. 2 Ford. He got him on the entry into Turn 2 once more, and this time Cindric was unable to fight back. Van Gisbergen was now inside the top-five.

Lap 63: The race leader was five seconds up the road as Van Gisbergen took fourth from reigning Cup champion Joey Logano. It was another inside pass under braking into Turn 2. 

Lap 64: SVG would then set his sights on another Cup champion, shooting up the inside of Kyle Busch into Turn 4. He was running third, and quickly closed in on the leading duo.

Lap 66 (10 laps to go): Putting down lap times much quicker than the leaders, he closed in on Chase Elliott, who yes, is also a former Cup champion. With 10 to go, he ran a lap that was 1.2 seconds quicker than Elliott and 1.6 seconds faster than the race leader.

Lap 67: He spent this entire lap on the bumper on Elliott, patiently waiting for his chance to pounce.

Lap 68: Van Gisbergen threw it up the inside of Elliott in what had proved to be one of his favorite passing zones (Turn 2), completing the pass without issue. On the same lap, he made a move for the race lead. This time on the inside at Turn 7, but it was all for nothing as the caution flew and Justin Haley was still scored as the race leader.

Lap 71: The race resumed with just five laps to go. Haley had not won a race in four years and desperately needed this victory in order to make the playoffs. He would not just hand it over. Like so many times before, SVG made a dive to the inside under braking into Turn 2. He had taken the lead, but Haley was not done yet. He powered back alongside SVG down the straight and into Turn 3. Van Gisbergen lifted, then fired up the inside of Haley on entry into Turn 4 in a daring pass at one of the trickier sections of the course.

Lap 74: Van Gisbergen was nearly two seconds up the road with just two laps to go, but an incident in the back of the pack would force an overtime restart. A two-lap dash to end the race.

Lap 77 (Overtime): Luckily, NASCAR kept single-file restarts for this green-white-checkered finish. Van Gisbergen fired off well, and Haley was unable to mount a real challenge.

Lap 78 (Checkered flag): 1.2 seconds ahead, Van Gisbergen came around to take victory in his NASCAR Cup Series debut. The first driver in 60 years to accomplish such a feat. The first driver from New Zealand to ever win a NASCAR race on the national level. It was a dream come true for the three-time Supercars champ, and I dare say it won't be the last we see of him in a stock car.

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