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NASCAR Cup Darlington

Van Gisbergen hopes to get "in a seat in the Cup Series next year"

Shane van Gisbergen is not satisfied with his results so far in his first NASCAR Xfinity Series season but he’s still “loving” the competition and remains hopeful of a quick move to Cup.

Shane Van Gisbergen, Kaulig Racing, Wendy's Chevrolet Camaro

The three-time Supercars champion became the first driver in more than 60 years to win a Cup race in his debut when captured the victory in the inaugural Chicago Street Race last July driving for Trackhouse Racing.

The win served as the instigator for the 34-year-old Kiwi to make a permanent move to NASCAR competition this season, where he is running a full Xfinity schedule and partial Cup schedule, both with Kaulig Racing.

Van Gisbergen’s debut season in Xfinity has had some bright moments – a third-place finish at Atlanta and sixth at Phoenix – and he currently remains in the playoff hunt sitting 15th in the series standings.

While that may be considered good for a driver who has little previous oval track experience, van Gisbergen is looking for more, especially as he hopes to move full-time to Cup in 2025.

Shane Van Gisbergen, Kaulig Racing, WeatherTech Chevrolet Camaro

Shane Van Gisbergen, Kaulig Racing, WeatherTech Chevrolet Camaro

Photo by: Nickolas Wolf / NKP / Motorsport Images

“Yeah, it’s been pretty tough. It’s been really good though – a lot of fun, a lot of learning and I’m loving racing every week and a different challenge every week,” van Gisbergen said Friday at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, site of his next Xfinity race on Saturday.

“This stretch of races is probably what we singled out as the most difficult, you know – Dover and Texas and this place and then the Coke 600 in a couple of weeks (in Cup). You know, I got some pretty tough weeks here, but I feel like we’re getting through it.”

One strength for Van Gisbergen has been his ability to finish races – he’s been running at the finish of nine of his 10 Xfinity races this season. In his last five races, however, he’s led just a single lap with the highest finish of 11th.

“We want to be a bit quicker but getting top 20s completing every lap, it’s been really good,” he said. “So yeah, being the first time out these tracks, that’s sort of the goal. And then yeah, towards the end of the year, especially when we come back to these places, we’ll try and push for better results.

“I’ve been enjoying it been having some great races with people and ending most weeks with a with a smile on my face.”

Van Gisbergen believes better results – including making the Xfinity playoffs – will be an important factor in how quickly he can join the Cup series full-time.

Earning his first win in the series would lock him in the playoff field but his consistency so far kept h’m a viable candidate to advance that way as well.

“Obviously, you want to make the playoffs and road courses are my best shot with that. But being able to point my way in would be amazing as well,” he said.

“I'm competitive by nature. So, I want to get good results soon. And there’s some good tracks coming up for me for that, but I want to succeed at the ovals, too, and get better there.

“As I say, I don’t really have expectations or a goal for myself, I just want to keep learning and keep getting better and, you know, do the right thing so that gets me in a seat in the Cup Series next year.”

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