“Shane Goes to Watkins Glen and Has It That Easy?” – Dale Earnhardt Jr Questions SVG’s Skill as He Makes a Bold Claim

Published 07/06/2023, 11:25 AM EDT

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The results of the Chicago Street Race have been the talk of the town. With Shane van Gisbergen deciding to turn up in the #91 for Trackhouse Racing Team, the community was quite excited to see what the 3-time Supercars champion had up his sleeve. Living up to his reputation, he didn’t disappoint.

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Becoming the first driver to win a race in his debut appearance since 1963 is truly a marvelous achievement. But at the same time, Gisbergen’s win has raised some eyebrows over the level of competition that a Cup Series race can provide. With him being primarily a driver in the Supercars championship, there is certainly a good amount of differences in his approach toward a Next Gen car. Dale Earnhardt Jr discusses the same in the latest episode of his podcast, The Dale Jr. Download.

Dale Earnhardt Jr says Gisbergen won’t have it easy on a familiar track in the Cup Series

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The weekend in Chicago gave everyone some points to ponder upon. Most of the drivers were quick to express their discomfort in adapting to a rather unknown venue. Despite their efforts, there is no denying that racing on a relatively unfamiliar track can bring some undesirable outcomes. Dale Jr shed light on the fact that Gisbergen got the better of everyone capitalizing on the same factor. He added,

“I don’t know that Shane goes to Watkins Glen and has it that easy. I don’t know that he goes to Sonoma and can, you know outrun our boys like he did at the Chicago Street course race.”

Emphasizing what the result of the race would be had it happened on a track that regularly features on the Cup Series schedule, Junior added,

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“I’d love to see what would happen if we take him and put him on one of the tracks that we go to every year where our guys had experience and data. That’d be a bit more difficult and challenging I believe. But I don’t mind them basking in the sunlight a little bit and enjoying the success and enjoying the win and being proud of where they’re from, proud of being Supercars.”

The two-time Xfinity champion’s words in no way undermine the skills of SVG as a race car driver. Instead, he focuses on highlighting the difficulty in challenging the Cup drivers on venues that they have been racing in all their careers. A reasonable argument indeed.

Junior says the difference in schedule could help a NASCAR driver in a Supercars race

Over the years, NASCAR has been generous in giving out opportunities to stars from different leagues of racing. Barring Shane, former F1 champions like Kimi Raikkonen and Jenson Button, former Le Mans winner Kamui Kobayashi, and many others have tried their hands in NASCAR. But rarely has anyone had an impact similar to what Gisbergen had at Chicago. Despite that, Dale Earnhardt Jr says that there are specific reasons for Shane’s success on Sunday. Starting off with the views of Australian racing legend, Paul Morris for the race, he said,

“He made a lot of great points and debated some of the decision makings and so forth in all industries. Over the past, I’ve seen him debate some of the technical advancements and changes in the sport in terms of power suitings and so forth. So I don’t disagree with what he’s saying about licenses and the protocols in place that would make it difficult for a NASCAR driver to come around and race with them.”

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Morris’ thoughts reflect upon some of the difficulties a driver transitioning from NASCAR to Supercars could possibly face. Although Junior agrees with Paul to some extent, he expressed his opinion on what could be the X-factor for a Cup driver in the Australian circuits.

“You know, it was irony and sarcasm in his comments at how easy it was for Shane to come race with us and how maybe challenging it might be for a Cup guy to go over there. And unique thing is that the schedules actually work out, right? Our season is off and they’re in the middle of their season. So schedule actually works in favor of us to have a lot of cars.”

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It is hard to choose a side since both schools of thought come from two very experienced drivers. Morris is the only driver alongside Gisbergen to be victorious at all three major races at the famous Mount Panorama, winning the Bathurst 1000, Bathurst 12 hours, and Bathurst 6 hours.

Read More: Ross Chastain Adds Another Name to His Growing List of Enemies in Chicago: “Get Back to His A** & Put Him Into the Fence”

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Written by:

Ansuman Abhisek

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Ansuman Abhisek is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. As an engineering graduate, he has a strong affinity for cars, and it didn't take long for him to translate that into his love for the sport. He is a big fan of Kyle Busch and believes that the Richard Childress Driver still has his best years ahead of him.
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Edited by:

Nischal Kandpal

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