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Shane van Gisbergen Faces Another Setback Right Before Qualifying Starts at Las Vegas

Published 03/01/2024, 7:31 PM EST

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Shane van Gisbergen might have thought he’d seen it all after Daytona and Atlanta, but the next race, with its intermediate track, was shaping up to be a whole new ballgame. However, trouble’s already brewing even before he hits the track, with his car running into some inspection issues that could spell big trouble.

Problems continue to pile up for SVG, one after another, without pause

The latest buzz from Jayski is that Shane van Gisbergen’s ride didn’t pass pre-race inspection not once, but twice. That might cost him his pit pick for Phoenix and getting one of his crew members booted this week. The hiccup caused him to hit the track later than planned for practice, landing him in the 33rd spot speed-wise. The check-up routine for these cars is pretty thorough, covering five key areas: making sure the car’s safe, checking the chassis, fitting it against a set of standard templates, scanning the underwing/diffuser, and then wrapping up with an optical scan. Each step makes sure the car’s up to snuff, both before it races and after.

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Lately, NASCAR’s been really cracking down on any minor discrepancies, handing out some hefty penalties for even the smallest slip-ups. So, every team’s walking on eggshells, trying to avoid any infractions. But Shane Van Gisbergen’s car flunking during the pre-race check-up might just stir the pot over at the Trackhouse Racing team.

But Shane Van Gisbergen wasn’t the only one hitting a snag with the car inspection. Derek Kraus’s #16 also flunked the inspection twice, which led to his car chief getting the boot and a loss of pit selection. Luckily, Kraus’s car made the grade on the third attempt. J.J. Yeley’s #44 was in the same boat, failing twice, costing him a crew member and pit choice, and he’s still got to clear the inspection on a third go-round. It looks like everyone else managed to sail through on their first or second try.

Last week’s run at Daytona International Speedway was one for the books for Van Gisbergen, who found himself in the thick of it with seven crashes across the Xfinity and ARCA races. However, despite the chaos, he managed to pull off a 12th-place finish in his rain-delayed Xfinity debut, staying on the lead lap but not without getting caught in a big pile-up and a few smaller tangles.

This past weekend in Atlanta, van Gisbergen really showed what he’s made of, snagging his first top-five finish by coming in third. And get this—it was only his second time racing in the series. The Kiwi driver played it smart by pitting for gas late in the game, while a bunch of others found themselves running on empty during overtime. It would be interesting to see how his Las Vegas run pans out.

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But when it all comes down to it, SVG is already tipping his hat to the NASCAR crowd. Spilling the beans recently, he mentioned that the Xfinity drivers have really caught his eye, calling them “impressive.”

Shane van Gisbergen admits the winds make him a bit nervous

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As the Las Vegas race draws near, SVG shared his thoughts on the challenge ahead, especially with the wind. “We went for a walk (on the track) before and just the wind is how that’s going to affect. You know, like I’ve felt wind and race cars before, but not at these speeds. I’m not sure what it’s going to be like,” he mentioned.

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But it’s not just the wind that’s caught his attention; it’s the sheer intensity of the races. Asked whether he finds NASCAR drivers too aggressive, SVG was quick to clarify. He wouldn’t call them aggressive—more like razor-sharp and totally dialed in. He gave a nod to Austin Hill though, saying, “Watching Austin Hill in particular at Daytona, he passed me a couple of times and was just so committed where he was placing his car, and he was so aware of his surroundings. It was really impressive to watch and I’m not at that level of confidence yet to do that.”

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Written by:

Neha Dwivedi

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Neha Dwivedi is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. As a journalist, she religiously believes in the power of research, which allows her readers to dive deep into her stories and experience the detailed nuances of the sport like never before. Being proficient with Core Sport and Live Event Coverage, she has written multiple copies on the top entities of Stock Car Racing, like Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott, and Tony Stewart.
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Edited by:

Shivali Nathta