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Shane van Gisbergen to make NASCAR Cup debut at Chicago

Australian Supercars star Shane van Gisbergen will be making his NASCAR Cup Series debut in the Chicago Street Course race on the 2 July.

Podium: Race winner Shane van Gisbergen, Triple Eight Race Engineering Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

NASCAR is running on the streets of Chicago for the very first time this year, and the three-time Australian Supercars champion will be joining them, driving the #91 Trackhouse Racing team entry.

Champion in 2016, 2021, and 2022, Van Gisbergen is already one of the most successful racers in Supercars history. He is ranked fourth on the all-time wins list and won the prestigious Bathurst 1000 in both 2020 and 2022 with co-driver Garth Tander.

“I can honestly say I have dreamed about an opportunity in NASCAR, but really never thought it would become a reality,” said van Gisbergen

“I can’t wait to get to the States to meet everyone and prepare for Chicago. It’s NASCAR’s first time on the streets of Chicago so in some ways everyone will be a rookie like me, but I don’t underestimate that it’s going to be a huge challenge.”

Trackhouse's Project 91 programme, which aims to bring international racing stars to NASCAR, debuted last year with former Formula 1 Kimi Raikkonen at Watkins Glen. Raikkonen also drove the car again earlier this year at COTA.

Shane van Gisbergen

Shane van Gisbergen

Two of Trackhouse's three victories in 2022 came at road courses with Ross Chastain winning at COTA and Daniel Suarez taking victory at Sonoma Raceway.

Veteran crew chief Darian Grubb will be on the pitbox for van Gisbergen. He has 23 Cup wins to his credit and won the 2011 Cup title with Tony Stewart.

“We have been very pleased with the fan reaction to Kimi’s participation the last two seasons,” said Justin Marks in a release from the team.

“I’ll concede the American racing fan might not be as familiar with Shane as they are with Kimi, but if you talk with anyone in Australia, New Zealand and that part of the world, they will tell you he is one of the most talented drivers on the planet. He’s used to street racing in heavy cars and I think everyone will be very impressed with his performance.” 

The 34-year-old will be with the team during the Nashville race weekend on 25 June and spend the following week at the shop preparing for Chicago. 

“There is so much I have to learn about these cars and how the races are run,” said van Gisbergen.

“The learning curve will be quite steep, but I am ready for everything they will throw at me. I know a lot of Kiwis and Aussies will be watching and I’m honoured to get this opportunity.” 

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