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Race report
NASCAR Cup Chicago Street Course

Shane van Gisbergen takes dramatic NASCAR Cup win on debut

Shane van Gisbergen crashed inaugural NASCAR’s Chicago Street Race party earning a victory in his first series start.

With NASCAR celebrating its 75th anniversary, Van Gisbergen put an exclamation point on the sport’s global motorsports reach by winning the rain-delayed first street race in Cup series history.

A late caution for a two-car wreck sent the race into a two-lap overtime but van Gisbergen, who had grabbed the lead on the previous restart, had little trouble holding off Justin Haley by 1.259 seconds to claim the win.

The Kiwi did a traditional burnout on the frontstretch in his Trackhouse Racing No. 91 Chevrolet to the roar of the crowd as the sun set in downtown Chicago.

Asked if he thought a victory was even possible in his first series start, van Gisbergen said, “No, of course not but you always dream of it. What an experience in the crowd out here.

“This was so cool. This is what you dream of. Hopefully, I can come and do more.”

Van Gisbergen said when he fell back to 18th after his final pit stop, he was worried about his ability to return to the front.

“The racing was really good, everyone was respectful. It was tough but a lot of fun,” he said. “The fans in Australia and New Zealand, the response this week and the coverage has been – I can’t explain it.

“Like the response and the support I’ve got from everyone and even over here how welcoming everyone is, I can’t believe it. Dream come true.”

The three-time Australian Supercars champion looked to be a contender all weekend. He was fastest in Saturday’s practice and came up just short in qualifying for the pole and started third.

Once NASCAR declared it was shortening the original 100-lap race on the 2.2-mile, 12-turn course through the Grant Park area near the banks of Lake Michigan to 75 laps due to darkness, van Gisbergen was one of the last to pit and had fresher tires.

He ran down the leaders late in the race – at times more than a second quicker per lap – before finally taking the lead with a pass of Haley on a restart on lap 71.

Van Gisbergen’s ride this weekend was courtesy of Trackhouse’s Project 91, which provides rides to international motorsport stars so they can try their hand at Cup racing.

Chase Elliott – who started the race in a backup car from the rear of the field – finished third, Kyle Larson was fourth and Kyle Busch overcame an early wreck to claim fifth.

Completing the top-10 were Austin Cindric, Michael McDowell, Joey Logano, Ty Gibbs and Chris Buescher.

The start of Sunday’s race was delayed by more than an hour-and-a-half due to torrential rain and flooding on the course. It finally went green with a single file start at approximately 6:38 p.m. ET.

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Stage 1

By leading at the completion of lap 20, Christopher Bell claimed the Stage 1 win with a 1.888-second advantage over Reddick. They were followed by Van Gisbergen, Truex and McDowell.

On Lap 3, Busch plowed into the tire barriers in Turn 6 to bring out the first full-course caution of the race. After his No. 8 Chevrolet was extricated from under the barrier, he was able to rejoin the field.

 

Stage 2

Bell was leading at the completion of lap 45 while the race was under caution which gave him the Stage 2 win over Larson. They were followed by Reddick, van Gisbergen and McDowell.

During a caution on lap 42 for Alex Bowman getting spun into the Turn 11 wall, several lead-lap cars elected to pit to take a new tires and gas thinking impending darkness may bring an early end to the 100-lap race.

Stage 3

During the caution that occurred just before the start of Stage 3, NASCAR announced the race would conclude after 75 laps and those teams that had not already pit, did so. Haley took the green flag as the leader followed by Austin Dillon and Elliott.

The race almost immediately returned to caution with a pile-up in Turn 11 which collected 14 cars at one point. All were able to get restarted and eventually clear the area.

 

Haley remained out front when the race returned to green on lap 53. He was followed by Austin Dillon, Elliott and Logano.

Austin Dillon fell out of contention after hitting the wall with 13 laps to go while trying to run down Haley for the lead. That allowed Elliott to move up to second and Busch to third.

With 10 laps to go, Haley continued to hold off Elliott while van Gisbergen had moved to third and was easily the fastest car on the track at the time.

Just as van Gisbergen got around Elliott was about to take the lead from Haley when Martin Truex Jr. crashed into the Turn 1 tire barriers to place the race under caution and set up a late restart.

Van Gisbergen jumped on Haley on the restart with five laps to go and swept around Haley in Turn 2 to move into the race lead.

 

Bubba Wallace got into Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and both slammed into the Turn 1 barriers to bring out a caution and send the race into a two-lap overtime.

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