Shane van Gisbergen pulled off a miraculous victory in his NASCAR Cup Series debut on Sunday at the Chicago street course, raising the possibility of a move to the North American motorsports organization next season.
However, van Gisbergen already has a ride elsewhere. The New Zealand native races for Triple Eight Race Engineering of the Supercars Championship in Australia. He is a three-time champion on the circuit and has 80 career wins in 499 races.
Van Gisbergen is still under contract with Triple Eight through the 2024 Supercars season, according to Motorsport. However, Triple Eight managing director Jamie Whincup said Monday he would not come in between van Gisbergen and his NASCAR dreams if that was something he wanted to pursue.
“He’s only contractually bound to us for next year. But me sitting here right now, of course I’m trying to run the business as well as I possibly can, and I need the best drivers – but if any driver, engineer, employee came to me and said, ‘hey, my dream is to go to the other side of the world and do something else’ then I’m not going to stand in their way, am I?” he told FOX Sports Australia.
“I want to open up opportunities for all my staff, so we’ll see. I’m sure SVG is just on a wave right now. I need him to dial in to this weekend because we’re racing at Townsville for round 6 of our [Supercars] championship so let’s focus on that first.
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“But no doubt we’re going to have some discussions the next month or so and work out what he wants to do. He has certainly got my praise, whatever he wants to do, and we’re going to support him all the way.”
Van Gisbergen drove the No. 91 Trackhouse Racing vehicle to Victory Lane as he zoomed past Chase Elliott and Justin Haley in the closing laps. It was a part of the race team’s Project 91 to help expand its global reach.
“This was a shower idea,” Trackhouse owner Justin Marks said. “I mean it was me thinking I’m a huge fan of all different kinds of motorsports, and I’ve raced in all different kinds of motorsports. I wanted to bring my love global motorsport to NASCAR.”
Van Gisbergen was the first driver to win in his NASCAR debut since Johnny Rutherford did it in the second qualifying race at Daytona in 1963. He is also the sixth driver born outside the U.S. to win a NASCAR Cup Series race, joining Marcos Ambrose, Mario Andretti, Juan Pablo Montoya, Earlo Ross and Daniel Suarez.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.