via Imago

via Imago

The Kiwi speedster makes NASCAR’s jaws drop yet again. A year has not passed since Shane van Gisbergen took American race fans by storm with a win at his debut Cup race. Yet the stellar Supercars champion clocked a double glory feat today, cementing his status as a superb motorsports athlete.

Last weekend at Portland International Speedway, van Gisbergen dimmed Justin Allgaier’s sparkle. He stole the race lead from the latter at the end, cruising ahead to win the race. This time around, van Gisbergen made sure to dominate before sealing the victory.

Shane van Gisbergen stuns with a double-decker win


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After last weekend’s road course win, Kaulig Racing president Chris Rice was ecstatic. Yet Rice opted to be cautious, considering van Gisbergen’s late-race glory. Hence Shane van Gisbergen decided to upturn his team president’s doubts immediately at the next race at Sonoma Raceway. Leading 33 of 79 laps at the 2.52-mile road course, Shane van Gisbergen rocked the show and eventually snagged the trophy.

Post-race, Shane van Gisbergen repeated the tradition he introduced at Portland. After displaying a burnout of thick white smoke, the former rugby player autographed a rugby ball and kicked it into the grandstands. Then sporting a gleeful smile, he approached FOX reporter Josh Sims and first thanked his team, admitting to using up his car. “Firstly, gotta thank these guys so much. Kaulig Racing…the Camaro got beat up again.”

Then Shane van Gisbergen poured out his ecstasy, mentioning the late-race jostling with RCR driver Austin Hill. “Man, what a race, adventure up and down all day. Yeah that last restart, I’d just given it all I had and two guys down for the same real estate came together. Yeah, so it was pretty awesome luck. Had a lot of fun, enjoyed the show. And pretty awesome back-to-back weeks for us.”

The Kiwi driver further mentioned his team’s immense efforts which helped him tackle another rival. “The work we did between weeks made the car better. It was an awesome race with Ty Gibbs at the start where we were really pushing each other. Yes but, a special win with two road courses in a row.” Van Gisbergen topped it off with a wish: “One day, dreaming about winning on an oval.”

However, before the stellar driver proceeds to an oval victory, he has some tough contenders to deal with. Two drivers fought tooth and nail to steal his glory, and one of them was evidently unhappy.


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RCR driver clenches his teeth


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Early in the race, Joe Gibbs’ grandson put up a tough fight with Shane van Gisbergen. Former Xfinity champion Ty Gibbs could have been a longer threat, leading 26 laps. But a slow second pit stop dropped him in the field for the Stage 2 and a 13-car wreck threw him out of contention. Besides Gibbs, another Xfinity star, Austin Hill, also got in SVG’s way. However, Shane van Gisbergen was determined to win.

Both drivers negotiated some tough side-by-side action on a late-race restart with 11 laps to go. Then the Kiwi got his right side tires in the dirt on Turn 2 and made contact with Hill, forcing him up the track. SVG stole the lead, and Hill fell back by four positions.


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Austin Hill was visibly frustrated after the race. “I’m gonna leave it to the keyboard warriors on this one, I’ll let them figure out what happened,” said Hill as he watched the replay on the track’s video screen. “I plead the fifth, I’m not going to say anything about it.” He then focused on the future. “We’ll just go on to the next one, good hard racing. We were holding off SVG for a while, had that caution and I knew it was going to be tough on the restart and it didn’t work out. But we had a good points day and finished in the top five. You can’t ask for more than that.”

Clearly, Hill was displeased, as the Kiwi was a tough match. Shane van Gisbergen’s speedy advances through the NASCAR leaderboard may soon see him land a spot in the Cup Series.