Race 28 2023 Repco Supercars Championship - Vailo 500 For the second year succession, the…
MEDIA RELEASE/Supercars – Photos: NASCAR/van Gisbergen FB
Shane van Gisbergen has sent shockwaves through the NASCAR world after narrowly missing out on pole on his Cup Series debut to start from third place on the grid.
The three-time Supercars champion piloted his Project91 Chevrolet Camaro to third in an enthralling qualifying session in Chicago.
Van Gisbergen is competing in the wildcard Trackhouse-run entry, which is aimed at bringing international stars to NASCAR.
In just his second track session in the Cup Series, van Gisbergen blazed to third in qualifying in a 37-car field.
The two-time Bathurst winner also outqualified Trackhouse stablemates Daniel Suárez (fifth) and Ross Chastain (34th).
Van Gisbergen was close to scoring a shock Busch Light Pole Award in his first-ever attempt, but was demoted late on by Denny Hamlin and Tyler Reddick.
Hamlin, a three-time Daytona 500 winner, was second behind van Gisbergen in earlier practice.
The Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota veteran will go down as the first ever pole winner on a street course in NASCAR.
It could have been van Gisbergen, who was lucky to make the final runs at all after being forced to abort an earlier lap due to a crash for Chase Elliott.
For the fight for pole the field was split into two group-qualifying sessions that spanned 15 minutes each.
The top five drivers from each session advanced to the final 10-minute round of qualifying, where the Chicago Pole Award winner was crowned.
It proved to be Hamlin, who clocked a 1:28.435s lap to secure pole ahead of 23XI Racing driver Reddick and van Gisbergen.
Hamlin, Reddick and van Gisbergen were joined in the final shootout by Suárez, Kyle Larson, AJ Allmendinger, Christopher Bell, Michael McDowell and Joey Logano.
Van Gisbergen had posted the fastest average speed as all 10 cars took to the track in the last minute of qualifying.
He improved on his speed, but so did Hamlin and Reddick.
Notably, van Gisbergen outqualified 2009 Formula One world champion Jenson Button, who was eighth.
The Chicago race, the Grant Park 220, will commence at 7:30am AEST on Monday which you can watch on Fox Sports and Kayo.
Van Gisbergen will return to Australia after the race ahead of next weekend’s sixth Supercars round of 2023, the NTI Townsville 500.
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