“Not Idiots” – Shane Van Gisbergen Gives a Blunt Feedback of NASCAR Drivers

Published 08/11/2023, 9:06 AM EDT

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USA Today via Reuters

A lot of buzz has been going around since Shane Van Gisbergen confirmed his full-time career switch to NASCAR. Fans are especially eager to see how the Supercar sensation plays out on the NASCAR road courses. An expert in handling Australian V8s and the winner of his debut NASCAR race at Chicago, SVG has set high expectations in the minds of veteran racers like Dale Earnhardt Jr. In one of his earlier podcasts, Dale Junior admitted that for him, even a top-5 finish from SVG would be disappointing. Needless to say, SVG is shouldering a lot of pressure here.

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Recently, things got even more exciting when SVG joined Dale Earnhardt Jr. on his podcast. Gisbergen discussed his biggest concern for the upcoming race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and even Junior concurred.

The infamous road course races of NASCAR make the New Zealander frown

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Shane Van Gisbergen is just a couple of days away from his debut IndyCar race. And as the day approaches, he cannot help worrying about the notorious turn 1 of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Throughout the 200 laps that the drivers cover along the 2.5-mile, nearly rectangular oval track, each time they come face-to-face with this formidable opponent: Turn 1. But what is so scary about it?

When viewed from the tube, it looks harmless. But while drivers might accelerate up to 230 mph down the long straights, they need to take their foot off the throttle to decelerate and get their cars safely around the corners. Even a slight delay might cost the driver a crash, so a lot of driving through turn 1 is purely instinctive.

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Besides that, NASCAR has a reputation for its road courses being madhouses. Dale Earnhardt Junior explained the mindset of the drivers while driving on road courses over the first three stages, saying, “Stage 1, with the beginning of the race everybody is cool like hey we got ways to go, and Stage 2, we still wanna survive, everybody take care of each other and then stage 3 is like, screw you. Screw everybody.”

He went back to the 2011 race at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA), where the race ended with not one, not two, but three overtimes. The restarts in turn 1 witnessed four consecutive spins with the drivers going five and even, six wide, refusing to give even an inch to each other. After the race was over, F1 speedsters like Kimi Raikkonen and Jenson Button admitted that the amount of aggression during the last 15 laps of the race had shocked them.

As turn 1 in COTA is quite similar to the one in Indianapolis, Shane Van Gisbergen revealed that he was worried about the restarts. One tries to stay along the upper groove because the greater the radius, the lesser the deceleration. However, it is not the drivers’ choice to make, and that is what bothers SVG. He said, “It is exciting to watch but being in it…you probably don’t wanna be.”

Mike Davis asked the Kiwi icon if NASCAR has a reputation for being “idiots” when it comes to road courses, to which the latter replied, “Not idiots, being aggressive, for sure.”

Watch this story: How Shane Van Gisbergen’s Chicago Victory Became an Embarrassing Nightmare for Cup Drivers

Although nobody wants what happened in COTA to repeat, Dale Junior explained that from the broadcasting POV, that crazy stage 3 and those wild restarts are good. Whether it’s good for SVG or not, fans are looking forward to SVG ruling the street course at Indy. Not just that, some of them are making wild anticipations about JR Motorsports as well.

Fans want to see Shane Van Gisbergen drive for Dale Earnhardt Junior

After the insightful discussion at the Bojangles studio, the Triple Eight Race Engineering star posted a picture with Dale Junior on his Twitter account, saying, “Very cool to chat with @DaleJr on his podcast this week! 😀🎙️” 

Obviously, fans have poured comments regarding all sorts of assumptions.

One of them said, “Will Red Bull be the sponsor?”

Another one said, “Really enjoyed the pod and learning more about ya. We’d love to have here full time 🤘🏻🏁”

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Fans at NASCAR are optimistic about SVG’s future in NASCAR. And the comments showed exactly that. One of those comments read, “He looks like he will be able to stand up to any NASCAR driver, not a small driver”

While NASCAR junkies welcome SVG to the arena of stock-car racing, some of them are making comments that might make your head spin. It is known that the #8 car for JRM, formerly driven by Josh Berry, is an open ride for the 2024 season. In that light, someone said, “SVG should drive the #8 JRM for 1 season before going Cup racing full time!”

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Meanwhile, Project91 chose to promote the SVG t-shirt in the comment section and gave a chance to the fans to get one for themselves.

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Written by:

Soumyadeep Saha

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Soumyadeep is a NASCAR writer at EssentiallySports. He has done his Master's in English Literature and is a semi-professional bodybuilder. He has, in recent years, channelized his love and commitment for motorsports into a building career path.
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Edited by:

Shivali Nathta

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