Shane van Gisbergen Wins At Chicago, Captures First Victory (7-2-23)

By: Becca Cottingham Quimby

Headline Photo Credit: NASCAR Twitter Page

After a significant rain delay, we get underway for the inaugural Chicago Street Race. Tyler Reddick gets into the gas quickly and goes toe to toe with Denny Hamlin. It does not take long before he overtakes Denny for the lead. We hardly get started and we see multiple cars either spinning out or stuck. First Aric Almirola spins out and thankfully does not collect anyone, then we see Brad Keselowski, Erik Jones, and Noah Gragson get stuck at a tire barrier. Then we see Denny Hamlin slams into one a tire barrier on the side. This will put the pole leader towards the back. We will get a full track caution as Kyle Busch goes under the tire barrier. They will have to pull him out from under and he has almost no damage. Due to the conditions, NASCAR is having the restarts be single-file. This sets up a battle with Tyler Reddick and Christopher Bell battling for the lead. Tyler Reddick makes a costly mistake with a slip and this allows Christopher Bell to make his move for the lead. We will get another full caution when Noah Gragson goes into the tire barrier and gets stuck. We get back to green and it looks like it was going to be a battle between Christopher Bell and Tyler Reddick. Christopher Bell will slowly pull away and will eventually win stage one.

We stay green as we go into stage two and it starts with Joey Logano going into the Tire Barrier. He was able to back up and not bring out a caution. This was followed up by Jensen Button getting turned around while trying to get to pit road. Then Joey Logano got into him after he got back around. Teams are switching over to slick tires and with this, they are coming off pit road cold. We see an issue with Chase Elliot almost immediately after he came off the pit road as he went into the tire barrier. We will get another full caution as Noah Gragson gets stuck under the tire barrier again. The next caution comes as Denny Hamlin makes contact with Alex Bowman. Alex Bowman was not able to initially get it going first when he did he went straight to pit road. Alex Bowman will get back out off of the pit road and back under the green. Alex Bowman does not last long as his car’s engine will blow up while on the track. This will bring a caution out exactly where stage two would have technically ended.

We go back to racing for the third and final stage. NASCAR decided to shorten the length of the lead and with that drivers come down the pit road. This puts roughly eleven cars in front of Christopher Bell that he will need to pass. When we get back to racing we get William Byron around that follows by a pile-up as multiple drivers try to avoid him where he is located on the track. If you can be in the right lane you can get around the pile-up. Otherwise, you are stuck in the pile-up. NASCAR will have to go through and reset the lineup. We will go back to green with different drivers at the front of the field. Martin Truex Jr spins, and Bubba Wallace ends up in the run-off section and has to get back on course. Tyler Reddick then slams into the tire barrier and gets stuck and brings out another caution. This puts Justin Haley in a spot again where he will have to do yet another restart. Justin Haley and Austin Dillon have a great restart. They start battling extremely hard and Austin Dillon will get hard up against the wall. He will damage the toe-link on his car. Then trying to make it to pit road he slams into the tire barrier again. Austin Dillon will end up back down the pit road. Then the battle is on for the lead between Chase Elliott, Shane van Gisbergen, and Justin Haley. In looking at the lap times Shane is by far the fastest car between three cars. He patiently waits for a mistake as he gets on Chase Elliott’s rear and then makes a clean pass for a second. Shane then heads to take on Justin Haley. It looks like Shane is going to make the solid pass but Martin Truex Jr is stuck in the tire barrier. We get back to green and Shane and Justin Haley go to battle for first place. We have just about five laps to go. Justin will try to come back but Shane comes back and takes the lead. Just when it looks like the race is about to end, Bubba Wallace hits Ricky Stenhouse Jr hard into the tire barrier. The front of Bubba Wallace’s car is pushed back. Ricky’s car is stuck under the tires so the crew will have to come out and pull his car out. This will lead us to overtime at Chicago since the race was shortened as Shane was just short of taking the white flag. This gives everyone at least one more chance to bunch back up and restart. The green flag drops again and Shane vanGisbergen takes off hoping to keep Justin Haley and Chase Elliott behind him. He pulls away just a few car lengths from Justin Haley with only two laps left in the race as long as the white flag comes out. We get the white flag and Shane stays perfectly calm and steady behind the well of his car. Shane van Gisbergen will get the unofficial win in the project ninety-one car.