Photo: Logan T. Arce/ASP, Inc.

Shane van Gisbergen Knocked Out Early as Chaos Breaks Out in Chicago

By David Morgan, Associate Editor

CHICAGO – Shane van Gisbergen will not be able to defend his NASCAR Chicago Street Race win after a crash in the rain with just 25 laps completed in Sunday’s Grant Park 165.

Entering the day as the presumptive favorite to win again on the 12-turn, 2.2-mile street course in Downtown Chicago and sweep the weekend following his NASCAR Xfinity Series win on Saturday, the New Zealander seemed to be up to his old tricks again in the early laps on Sunday before Mother Nature had other ideas.

After rain started falling, soaking the circuit and making for a treacherous environment, Turn 6 became calamity corner.

Chase Briscoe, running seventh behind van Gisbergen in fifth, lost traction on his No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford under braking as his car fishtailed from side-to-side before careening out of control into the tire barrier.

As he slid helplessly toward the tires, Briscoe’s car appeared to make enough contact with van Gisbergen to send him into the concrete wall on the outside of Turn 6, with the impact enough to cause too much damage to continue.

“I just sort of turned in; it looked pretty good and then just got smacked by someone,” van Gisbergen said. “It’s gutting. The No. 16 Wendy’s Saucy Nuggs Camaro was really good. We were in the lead for a lot of that race. I felt good taking off in the rain, so that sucks. It’s an unfortunate mistake by him. I’m sure he didn’t mean it. But yeah, when he just clipped me, there wasn’t anything I could do.

“Of course I’m disappointed. We had a really amazing Camaro there. Kaulig Racing and Trackhouse Racing, they gave us a great car. We were able to lead and I felt like I was driving well with it, so yeah, it’s a shame to be out so early. It’s a shame we couldn’t have a proper crack at it at the end.”

Prior to the incident, van Gisbergen had led two times for nine laps in both wet and dry conditions, including the win in Stage 1, explaining that he had fun in what few laps he was able to complete.

“It was fun,” he said. “On slicks, it got a bit dodgy. I hated being the leader. Whoever was the leader, you could see them slowing up, not knowing what the condition would be. As soon as you got to the front, you were unsure of what was happening and had to take it a bit easy. But yeah, I had a lot of fun until then.”

A lap after van Gisbergen’s crash, the red flag was displayed for weather. It just came a lap too late for SVG and the No. 16 team.

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David Morgan is the Associate Editor for Motorsports Tribune. A 2008 graduate from the University of Mississippi, David has followed NASCAR since the early 90’s and became hooked at an early age after attending his first race at Talladega Superspeedway in 1993. He has traveled across the country since 2012 to cover some of the most prestigious events both IndyCar and NASCAR have to offer, with an aim to only expand on that in the near future.