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Van Gisbergen “just got smashed,” will finish last after Chicago crash

Van Gisbergen "just got smashed," will finish last after Chicago crash


Van Gisbergen came into the Cup race at Chicago with high hopes, and not just because he was the defending winner. The New Zealander also won Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race from pole position. He started fifth in Sunday’s Cup race, and quickly found his way into the race lead.

SVG was able to take the top spot from Ty Gibbs as they navigated slower traffic in a three-wide move exiting the final corner. He went on to win the opening stage, which ended under caution as the rain picked up.

The entire field moved to wet-weather tires for the start of the second stage. Van Gisbergen was fifth after pitstops, but never got the chance to fight his way back to the front. On the opening lap of the restart, Chase Briscoe lost control entering Turn 6, locking up the tires and aquaplaning. He clipped the rear of Van Gisbergen’s No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet, who slammed the outside wall and was unable to continue.

Briscoe’s No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing spun into the tire barriers after the contact. SVG will be scored 40th in the order, finishing last. The race was then red-flagged as the rain picked up.

 

After being released from the infield care center, the three-time Supercars champion had the following reaction after being shown the incident: “Yeah, nice one. So, that sucks. Unfortunate mistake by him [Briscoe]. I’m sure he didn’t mean it. But yeah, when he just clipped me, nothing I could do.”

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

Looking ahead, he named race leaders Ty Gibbs, Christopher Bell, and Kyle Larson as the favorites to win the event in his absence.

“Well, we had some really cool battles with them and and respectful. Really fair. So yeah, any of the top three I think are the favorite.”

The weather was always changing. The race started with a partially damp track and most of the field on slick tires, before transitioning to full wet conditions by the end of the first stage.

“It was fine,” van Gisbergen said of the track conditions. “But on slicks it got a bit dodgy and I hated being the leader. Whoever was the leader, you could see them slowing up not sure what the conditions would be. As soon as I got to the front you always…

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