Verstappen ‘screaming at the TV’ as Van Gisbergen took shock debut NASCAR win

2023 British Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen heaped praise on Shane van Gisbergen after the Australian Supercars champion won his first start in NASCAR last weekend.

Van Gisbergen triumphed on his debut in America’s most popular racing series, which was making its first visit to a street circuit. He qualified third on the grid and passed series regular Justin Haley to clinch victory in Chicago.

Verstappen described how he stayed up on Sunday evening following his victory in the Austrian Grand Prix to watch his friend and fellow Team Redline driver become the first person in 60 years to win on their debut in NASCAR.

“I stayed awake to watch it, I’ve never felt so nervous in my life watching someone else race and trying to win it,” said Verstappen. “I was literally screaming in front of the TV or like my monitor for him to win.”

Van Gisbergen, a three-times series in Australian Supercars (formerly V8 Supercars), impressed Verstappen with how well he adapted to the unfamiliar NASCAR Cup car.

“That’s really, really impressive to jump in a car you don’t know,” said the Red Bull driver. “They’re very hard cars to drive and he just goes in there and he absolutely dominates the race.

“I know he’s a great driver, I know what he’s capable of and I know how good he is at different kind of disciplines. I mean, he’s great of course at V8s [Supercars], that’s what he knows, but he’s great in a rally car as well and clearly he’s great in a NASCAR as well.

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“That’s Shane. He’s a crazy right-foot braker still.”

Verstappen is impressed by “crazy right-foot braker” Van Gisbergen
The Red Bull driver admitted he can’t emulate Van Gisbergen’s unusual driving technique which allows him to achieve rapid lap times while minimising his fuel consumption.

“I see it all the time on the simulator. He’s also part of Team Redline and sometimes we race together.

“It’s quite insane that he’s that fast with that technique. But it’s also very good on fuel, for example, the way he drives. It’s interesting, I mean, I can’t do it, but he grew up like that.”

Verstappen said he messaged Van Gisbergen “immediately” after his win. “He responded a bit late because of course he had a big party, which was far enough.”

However Verstappen admitted he wouldn’t want to try a NASCAR race himself. “It’s not my style,” he said. “I like watching, I think it’s really, really cool and I was happy for Shane. I’m happy to maybe go there and just have a beer myself and enjoy the show.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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21 comments on “Verstappen ‘screaming at the TV’ as Van Gisbergen took shock debut NASCAR win”

  1. Who watches Nascar anyway?

    1. More Americans than watch F1 or IndyCar, I’m afraid. And apparent Max

      1. @eurobrun Ultimately, I was only sarcastic anyway.

    2. Apparently Max.

    3. Judging by the world wide reaction to the SVG win, quite a lot of people.

      Incredible marketing for Nascar.

      Judging by the “who watches Nascar anyway” sentiment. Jere is upset at the Nascar marketing being better than F1 at present. Denigrate instead of celebrate.

      Bet many F1 drivers would like the chance to drive a wide variety of racing cars and series that SVG does.

      From single seater (won the NZ GP from pitlane), WOO sprint cars on dirt, rally (won the NZ Rally for Group 2) , Drifting, GT, or tintop cars in racing series like Nascar, Supercars, Le Mans, Imsa, DTM, etc.

      Nearest Max Verstappen can come to driving that variety is on sim racing.

      F1 drivers are unlikely to reach a diversity standard as SVG can accomplish. It is a pity SVG is a lanky 6 plus footer with some meat on the bones, he is unlikely to fit in a F1 car.

      1. I don’t know about marketing. You’re probably right, but to me this only tells one thing. Someone comes from another continent, driving totally different series, and wins in his first race on merit. Ovals are a different sport entirely, and this just confirms it.

        1. Michael Rhodes
          6th July 2023, 21:34

          not an oval – first street race for nascar

          1. I think what Dex meant was, all the Nascar drivers are used to ovals, and they were out of their comfort zone on a street circuit. So bringing in a ringer who is a specialist in that type of car, in those type of conditions, on that sort of circuit, with those sort of tyres; I am sure all the teams and drivers learnt a lot and it would be a lot harder for SVG to take the win next time.
            Even though SVG hasn’t done ovals I wouldn’t expect a win but I would still expect him to do better than most.

      2. Even though Nascar has a big audience, I would think Indycar would still attract better drivers than Nascar? It’s not really that surprising that SVG can come from the top tier tin top series in Aus, with a street and circuit focus, and win first time out. He usually does similar to all the drivers in the supercar series too. He does deserve extra kudos for going from right hand drive to left hand drive for Nascar though. He also ran one round of the Australian Rally Championship, in a borrowed car, and came 2nd outright in what was only his 2nd or 3rd rally! He is an exceptional talent, thwarted from F1 and Indycar by his height and weight.
        It would be good to see how he went in BTCC and DTM

        1. I don’t think left or right hand drive is such an issue. Here is SVG setting a then record and pole setting lap at Bathurst in a McLaren 650S GT3 car.

    4. Real motorsports fans watch all kinds of racing. It was a fantastic race!
      Go and watch the race highlights at leas, instead of being a cynic.

    5. A British friend I know is also a big NASCAR fan.

    6. You missed an epic race. Your elitism is your loss.

  2. Not a fan NASCAR, but it’s fun on road courses and this Chicago setting was amazing. The city usually stands in for NYC in films and frankly has a much prettier skyline. So, it made for a special event.

  3. @jerejj Button and Kimi watched NASCAR’s pass them in their attempts on the road courses , Shane is a intelligent highly skilled once in a generation driver of tin top racing, pleased to see Max can see this, sadly when Shane was young he no money or connections for the quest to F1, how much natural talent has been lost to F1 because of the $ we will never know. But will keep watching the Lances circulating .

  4. Look at how successful Indy car drivers, or F-1 drivers for that matter, have been when coming over to race in Nascar.

    The answer is not very. With the exception of Tony Stewart, who has won both Indy and Nascar Championships ( and liked the challenge of Nascar far more than Indy cars), none of the other guys have really amounted to anything.

  5. Van Gisbergen is one of the most talented drivers in the world outside of IndyCar. I hope he moves to IndyCar soon just like McLaughlin has!

  6. I’d love NASCAR to race in street circuits more often. I absolutely loved the NASCAR at Le Mans, that thing is a serious racecar when tuned properly for cornering both ways. It was ripping to see and hear on video, I can’t imagine what it was watching it live.

    1. Yellow Baron
      8th July 2023, 1:08

      Definitely would be cool to see full field of those garage 56 cars running. But I wonder if that opposed to the cup cars would affect the racing negatively.

      Either way they could probably run at some indycar street tracks. There’s long beach and of course why not Miami and and las Vegas lol

  7. Wholesome Verstappen. Me like

  8. Strapping in at Townsville.
    Better at jet lag recovery than me.

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