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Van Gisbergen predicting steep NASCAR oval learning curve

Shane van Gisbergen is predicting a tough initiation to bitumen oval racing when he makes his NASCAR Truck Series debut this week.

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The Kiwi will continue his rapid transition to the NASCAR system with two separate outings in Indianapolis later this week.

The first is a debut in the third-tier Truck Series with the Trackhouse Racing-aligned Niece Motorsports squad.

That will come at Indianapolis Raceway Park, marking van Gisbergen's first race on a bitumen oval.

He will then make a second Cup Series start for Trackhouse at the Indianapolis road course.

Both outings will garner plenty of attention off the back of van Gisbergen's sensational Cup Series win in Chicago.

However the three-time Supercars champion is keeping expectations of his oval debut in check, predicting a tough initiation.

"I’ve never really thought about ovals too much but I’ve always said I would love to have a go and I guess Friday night I'll get my shot," he said.

"It's going to be a steep learning curve, no doubt."

Shane van Gisbergen, Triple Eight Race Engineering Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

Shane van Gisbergen, Triple Eight Race Engineering Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

Photo by: Edge Photographics

As for the Cup Series race, van Gisbergen said: "It will certainly be different than the Chicago street course.

"I'll need to get up to speed quickly, but we plan a lot of simulator time and I know [crew chief] Darian [Grubb] will be thoroughly prepared for Indy.

"We have got to come in and do our best, but you also have got to race with respect as well. These guys are fighting for their championship every week, so I have got to come in and stay out of trouble."

Van Gisbergen is set to transition full-time into the NASCAR system next year, leaving Triple Eight and Supercars with a year left on his contract.

Will Brown is T8's primary target to replace van Gisbergen, with Brown currently negotiating an early exit from his Erebus deal.

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