VIDEO: Shane van Gisbergen ‘gutted’ after being taken out early at Chicago

Shane van Gisbergen’s opportunity to defend his race win on the Chicago Street Course from last season ended almost before it began Sunday. Saturday SVG put on a clinic in route to winning the NASCAR Xfinity race on the same course.

Sunday, he made his presence known early charging up from his fifth place starting spot in damp conditions and taking lead from Ty Gibbs on lap 12. A spin by Corey LaJoie on lap 18 forced a caution and van Gisbergen held onto the lead to win his first stage which ended on lap 20.

He restarted in fifth after pit stops and was trying to claw his way up through the field when the green came out and the rain started picking up. Coming into Turn 6, Chase Briscoe running just behind SVG slid sideways and into the tire barrier. As he slid the front of his car clipped the rear of van Gisbergen’s and though he didn’t spin SVG slid wide and into the outside wall in a hit hard enough to damage his Chevy and put him out of the race.

“I don’t know, I just sort of turned in; it looked pretty good and then just got smacked by someone.,” van Gisbergen said as he looked at the replay for the first time. “It’s gutting…We were in the lead for a lot of that race. I felt good taking off in the rain, so that sucks. It’s an unfortunate mistake by him. I’m sure he didn’t mean it. But yeah, when he just clipped me, there wasn’t anything I could do.”

Despite the early exit, he could smile.

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

And regardless of the way it ended, Shane van Gisbergen did seem to enjoy himself.

“It was fun. On slicks, it got a bit dodgy,” he said. “I hated being the leader. Whoever was the leader, you could see them slowing up, not knowing what the condition would be. As soon as you got to the front, you were unsure of what was happening and had to take it a bit easy. But yeah, I had a lot of fun until then.”

Greg Engle