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Van Gisbergen "a long way" from a NASCAR oval win but "getting better"

Shane van Gisbergen locked himself into the NASCAR Xfinity Series playoffs with last weekend's victory at Portland, but recognises he's "probably a long way away" from a first oval win.

Race winner Shane Van Gisbergen, Kaulig Racing, Quad Lock Chevrolet Camaro

The three-time Supercars champion captured his first victory in the second-tier Xfinity Series on Saturday, passing Justin Allgaier with three of 75 laps remaining.

Last July, van Gisbergen became the first driver in more than 60 years to win a Cup race on his debut in the inaugural Chicago Street Race driving for Trackhouse Racing.

It served as the instigator for the 35-year-old to move to NASCAR competition this season, where he is racing full-time in Xfinity and part-time in Cup, both with Kaulig Racing.

The goal is to prepare for a full-time move to the Cup Series with Trackhouse and van Gisbergen knows while Saturday’s win on the Portland road course was important, it’s his learning curve on ovals that needs improvement.

He has a pair of top-10 finishes, including third at Atlanta, but has led just a single lap on an oval.

“I’m a long way from [winning on an oval] and I understand that, but it’s a process,” he said.

“These guys have been doing it since they were kids whereas this stuff, [road racing] I’ve been doing since I was a kid.

Shane Van Gisbergen, Kaulig Racing, WeatherTech Chevrolet Camaro and Taylor Gray, Joe Gibbs Racing, Operation 300 Toyota Supra

Shane Van Gisbergen, Kaulig Racing, WeatherTech Chevrolet Camaro and Taylor Gray, Joe Gibbs Racing, Operation 300 Toyota Supra

Photo by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images

“So, I got a lot to learn on the ovals, but I’m going to keep getting better and keep focusing.

“One day I want to win on an oval, but I know it’s probably a long way away, but I’m going to keep learning. That’s the next goal.”

In the meantime, van Gisbergen is still getting accustomed to the more physical nature of NASCAR racing, whether it be on short ovals or even road courses.

He owned up to his own mishap in the first turn of the first lap at Portland when he ran into leader Sam Mayer and sent him around. Twice later in the race, van Gisbergen went off course to avoid incidents but was able to continue.

“It’s just all these games. I’m still learning and figuring it out,” he said.

“Going four-wide into Turn 1, it’s hard. I’m on the conservative side and these people, they don't give a [expletive]. They just send it in there and hope they come out the other side.

“So yeah, I’m still figuring out the American style.”

Reflecting on reaching the playoffs, he added: “It’s been a pretty special nine to 10 months since we decided to do this, and yeah, pretty stoked to be now in the playoffs and back in Victory Lane again.

“It’s pretty special. Every week, you know we’re not running up front, but I’m having a lot of fun doing it anyway.”

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