Shane van Gisbergen will make his oval debut in the Truck Series at IRP

LONG POND, PENNSYLVANIA - JULY 22: Ross Chastain, driver of the #41 Worldwide Express Chevrolet, drives during the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series CRC Brakleen 150 at Pocono Raceway on July 22, 2023 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Shane van Gisbergen will add to his NASCAR repertoire with his first-ever oval start in the Craftsman Truck Series on August 11th.

He’ll be driving the No. 41 Chevrolet Silverado for Niece Racing when the series heads to Indianapolis Raceway Park, a .686-mile oval with capacity for 30,000 spectators.

That’ll be just two days before he returns to the NASCAR Cup Series in the Trackhouse Racing PROJECT91 entry at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course on August 13th. He’ll be keeping there alongside fellow Australian Supercars driver Brodie Kostecki and former F1 competitor Kamui Kobayashi.

“The weekend will certainly be a challenge,” van Gisbergen acknowledged.

But he’s looking forward to the opportunity nonetheless.

“I’ve seen the trucks race on television and know it’s very competitive and that I’ll have a lot to learn on a short track at IRP,” he said. “I’m used to doing doubleheaders in Supercars, but this will be a little bit different.”

“I’m honored to join Niece Motorsports and thrilled at getting a chance to climb in a truck.”

Niece Motorsports has an existing relationship with the Trackhouse team. Ross Chastain has already driven seven races this season in the No. 41 truck, and he’s driven with the team many times in the past. Teammate Daniel Suarez also made a one-off start in a Niece truck as a relief driver for Carson Hocevar post-surgery. Plus, team owner Justin Marks competed in the No. 41 truck at Mid Ohio last year.

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA – JULY 29: Carson Hocevar, driver of the #42 Worldwide Express Chevrolet, drives during the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Worldwide Express 250 at Richmond Raceway on July 29, 2023 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

The team should give him a truck that’s fully capable of reaching victory lane, too.

Carson Hocevar, who drives the No. 42 truck for the team, has already won three times this year. However, Lawless Alan, the team’s other full-time driver, has seen mixed results in his second full-time season.

“We are so excited and so honored to have Shane drive for us at IRP,” said Niece Motorsports General Manager Cody Efaw.

“He’s a legend in Australia and New Zealand, but what he did at Chicago has everyone in America talking about his talent. We will help him experience oval racing and I am guessing we will learn a lot from him as well,” Efaw added.

Gisbergen will certainly be hoping to back up his headline-grabbing win at Chicago, which made him just the sixth foreign-born driver to win in NASCAR’s highest level and the first driver to win on debut since 1963, but experience on an oval – something foreign to him with a Supercars background – could be just as important as he told Australian media that he’s considering a move to NASCAR full-time.

Getting this experience is a step in the right direction towards establishing another championship caliber racing career for the Australian Supercars legend.

While competing at IRP, van Gisbergen will practice and qualify Friday afternoon before racing at 9 pm ET. The race will be televised on FS1.

Owen Johnson