F*** the betting slips. F*** the DFS lineups. What Shane van Gisbergen did Sunday, winning the NASCAR Chicago Street Race, is one of the greatest feats in recent stock car history.
Shane van Gisbergen Says, “Hold My Beer” at the NASCAR Chicago Street Race
Sunday marked the New Zealand-born Supercars driver’s first NASCAR Cup Series race, or any NASCAR series race for that matter. His appearance was intriguing but nothing unusual initially, as we’ve seen drivers from other series cross over several times just this year.
Former Formula 1 (F1) Champion Kimi Räikkönen returned to the Cup Series earlier this year at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) for his second career start, finishing 29th. Another former F1 champion, Jenson Button, made his second-career NASCAR Cup Series start Sunday. He finished 21st after an 18th-place finish at COTA earlier this year.
Even the books didn’t regard Shane van Gisbergen as a contender before practice and qualifying, with some offering up to 100-1 odds at open. After qualifying third, his price dropped at most sportsbooks to 10-1. Still, sports betting stooges like myself still couldn’t fathom that someone stepping into NASCAR’s Next-Gen Car for the first time would be an actual contender.
However, from the drop of the green flag, Shane van Gisbergen was just that – a contender. Behind the wheel of the Trackhouse Project 91 car, he ran the majority of the first two stages inside the top five. After a lap-45 caution for Alex Bowman blowing up and NASCAR shortening the race to 75 laps due to darkness, pit strategy shuffled the field, causing Shane van Gisbergen to fall back to 18th.
From then on, the 34-year-old whooped some American (and Mexican, in the case of Daniel Suarez) a** just days before Independence Day. On a track where most drivers were unsuccessful in overtaking for a position, Shane van Gisbergen said, “Hold my beer.”
The No. 91 ran down the field, including making an epic cross-over when leader Justin Haley momentarily passed him back for the lead. And if it couldn’t have been written any better, it came down to a green-white-checkered NASCAR overtime finish after Bubba Wallace got into Ricky Stenhouse Jr. with just two laps to go.
What’s Next For SVG?
The entire run was graceful and a true masterclass on navigating high-speed, tight corners. After the fact, he asked both the fans and team owner Justin Marks if they’ll “have him back?”
Marks, known for spotting talent, will likely continue his relationship with Shane van Gisbergen in some capacity next season. He could also potentially offer him a full-time ride in 2025 after he runs one more season in the Supercars.
Is he the next Dale Earnhardt, or even Dale Earnhardt Jr., for that matter? No. But did Shane van Gisbergen have one of the best “watch me” moments in the sport of NASCAR over the last decade? Absolutely.
Thanks for reading my opinion on Shane van Gisbergen and the NASCAR Chicago Street Race. Check out more of our racing content and other written work here at In-Between Media. Or head over to our YouTube channel to get your fix via video.
And for more NASCAR and feel-good content, you can find me on Twitter @Between_SethFF.