“That’s Not a Nice Thing to Hear” – SVG Reveals Kevin Harvick’s Troublesome Advice on Pack Racing in NASCAR

Published 01/20/2024, 8:52 PM EST

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Racing in NASCAR, especially in the Cup series is a one-of-a-kind experience. For drivers accustomed to a specific driving style on a racing circuit elsewhere, transitioning to Cup racing can take time and effort. While Shane van Gisbergen didn’t seem to feel any of those nerves during his historic debut in Chicago last year, he eventually arrived at that point. In a recent conversation with the media personnel at the NMPA convention, SVG divulged his thoughts on the same.

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Coming to the American stock-car racing circuit from the Australian Supercars has been a big change for SVG. While he can quickly adapt to street and road courses, ovals and short tracks are also a significant part of the schedule. Answering a journalist’s question about his thoughts on pack racing in NASCAR, Shane van Gisbergen revealed Kevin Harvick‘s suggestions and the harsh reality of them.

Shane van Gisbergen is ready to ‘survive till the end’

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Compared to other motorsports, NASCAR often stands out as the most unfiltered. Regular wrecks and on-track tussles among drivers, some of which are intentional, make it a challenging sport to climb the ranks. However, SVG has achieved a lot in his career. The 34-year-old has won three Supercar championships, which, along with his maturity, reflects how quickly he learns things.

Following a victory in Chicago last year, he visited the Indianapolis road course in 2023 to rake in another top-10 finish. For Shane van Gisbergen, managing against some of the drivers’ maneuvers will be difficult. He has found some advice from Kevin Harvick to ease himself into the process. Revealing the insights he caught from the 2014 Cup Series champion, SVG said, “It’s different. I’ve got no idea what I’m in for.”

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“Kevin Harvick has been really good for advice. We were talking about getting safe in the car and how to look around for things that could be useful. He said to be prepared as it’s going to be the biggest hits you’re ever going to take. That’s not a nice thing to hear, but it’s reality, and it’s just how it is going to be. It is completely different racing. You have to get through it, place your car in the right spot, and survive till the end.” 

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It looks like Shane van Gisbergen has begun to understand the core values of NASCAR very well. However, with the Daytona 500 closing in with every passing second, he still needs to grasp some things.

SVG’s ARCA experience could be crucial to adapting to oval racing

Last week, Trackhouse Racing announced van Gisbergen’s racing schedule for 2024. To acclimate to the racing style, SVG will race in the ARCA Menards Series season opener at Daytona. Pinnacle Racing Group will host his services and prepare him for the biggest race of the NASCAR calendar year.

Last Sunday, the 34-year-old spent most of his time at the Daytona International Speedway. He tested the waters by running a single car on the track and doing some laps with other cars to gradually understand the mechanisms. For Shane van Gisbergen, the oval and superspeedway expertise are still somewhat distant. Speaking on the same topic after the testing session, he said,

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“I still don’t have a good answer. I hope I’ll know more in a few weeks. I’ve really only done some single-file stuff (in the test), not two or three-wide. I’ve just been at the back of the train.”

The number of inputs from various sources during a race is relatively new for SVG. The setup has given him a fair idea of how difficult it is to pull off some racing maneuvers on a packed race track.

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“So, I haven’t really had too much of a feel, but it was still cool to get out there and feel what the car is like and how it moves around and how they are so sensitive to small changes,” said Shane van Gisbergen. “It’s pretty interesting like when they are tuning a roof flap, or the fenders and it picks up a tenth (of a second) or something like that. The driver doesn’t have a lot of input, but you can still feel the changes. I’ve never done anything like this before. I’m a full rookie.

Shane van Gisbergen’s addition is more than just valuable in terms of foreign stardom. It also adds more variety to the grid, a new challenge for him, and a racing treat for the fans.

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Written by:

Ansuman Abhisek

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I instantly fell in love with the sport as I witnessed the cars' breakneck speeds and the robust nature of the sport and its drivers. As I had a deep-rooted interest in automobiles, the sport naturally piqued my interest in a jiffy. Kyle Busch and his cutthroat style of racing played an important role in getting me hooked to stock car racing as I hopped on streams to watch him win races.
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Edited by:

Shivali Nathta

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