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Shane van Gisbergen "stoked" after third-place finish at Atlanta

Shane van Gisbergen had run a solid race Saturday night at Atlanta but his first experience in overtime provided an unexpected bonus – his first top five finish in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

Shane van Gisbergen, Kaulig Racing, WeatherTech Chevrolet Camaro

Despite having to pit twice during the break between Stages 2 and 3 to fix a potential fender rub, van Gisbergen had powered back up the field to 11th during the long green flag run in the final stage.

When several cars ran out of fuel with two of the scheduled 163 laps remaining – and NASCAR was forced to throw a caution for one stopped on the track – van Gisbergen’s No. 97 Kaulig Racing team took no chances and brought him down pit road for a splash of fuel.

He lined up eighth on start of the two-lap overtime. While several more cars fell off pace out of gas on the restart, van Gisbergen made his way to third before Austin Hill took the checkered flag for the win.

Shane Van Gisbergen, Kaulig Racing, WeatherTech Chevrolet Camaro

Shane Van Gisbergen, Kaulig Racing, WeatherTech Chevrolet Camaro

Photo by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images

“Pretty awesome,” the 34-year-old Kiwi said after the race. “Great job by Bruce (Schlicker, crew chief) on the box there to pit us (before overtime). I had so much fun. Just learning about it and running in the pack.

“Yeah, to be P3 in the second race is pretty awesome. I’m stoked.”

The three-time Supercars champion, who is running a full Xfinity and partial Cup schedule with Kaulig this year, had a rough season debut last weekend, getting caught up in an accident on Lap 3 of the Daytona ARCA Menards Series race.

Last Monday night’s rain-delayed Xfinity debut produced a much better result – he finished 12th and on the lead lap – but also included involvement in one multi-car wreck and several minor mishaps.

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Van Gisbergen, who was making just his fourth start on an oval track in a stock car, was especially pleased to remain out of trouble in Saturday’s race.

“It’s just good to get a result and have a clean car, especially after last week when I got involved in so much stuff,” he said. “So, to have a clean race, not make too many mistakes, and complete every lap, we learned a lot.

“It was awesome.”

He leaves Atlanta ninth in the NXS championship standings.

Last July, van Gisbergen became the first driver in more than 60 years to win a Cup race in his debut when he took victory in the inaugural Chicago Street Race driving for Trackhouse Racing. The victory served as the instigator for the Kiwi to move to NASCAR competition this season.

Even van Gisbergen's former Supercars team kept track of his performance Saturday.

During qualifying for Race #2 of the Supercars season-opener at Mount Panorama, the Triple Eight Red Bull team watched the race from the Bathurst garage as he competed at Atlanta.

Shane Van Gisbergen, Kaulig Racing, WeatherTech Chevrolet Camaro

Shane Van Gisbergen, Kaulig Racing, WeatherTech Chevrolet Camaro

Photo by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images

 

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