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Is Shane Van Gisbergen Living Up To the Hype?

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What’s Happening?

Shane Van Gisbergen is approaching the halfway mark of his first full-time NASCAR season. His win in the Chicago Street Race last summer meant he was met with much hype, fair or unfair. Has he lived up to the hype that fans and pundits alike gave him?

  • Shane Van Gisbergen came to NASCAR in 2023 from the Australian Supercars series. Originally a one-off start at the Chicago Street Race, a win propelled SVG into a development contract with Trackhouse and a full-time Xfinity Series ride.
  • SVG has shown flashes this season. However, has he recaptured that same magic he had at the Chicago Street Race?
  • Fans all want to see SVG succeed. It’s impressive to watch an incredible driver in one series come over to try out NASCAR.

An Overall Look

Looking objectively at SVG’s Xfinity Series stats so far this season, he’s been far from bad. He’s not been great by any means, but he’s held his own in the Xfinity Series, 12 races in. He’s learning, logging laps, staying out of trouble, and getting decent results.

WinsTop 5sTop 10sAvg FinishPoints PositionLead Lap FinishesDNFs

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What stands out on SVG’s stat line is his 10 lead-lap finishes in 12 races and only 1 DNF. This means he is consistently racking up as many laps as possible, meaning he is gaining as much experience as he can. Keep in mind that SVG is seeing most of these tracks for the very first time, and he has maybe 20 minutes of practice, if any at all, to get the lay of the land.

He’s only finished outside of the top 20 three times. One of those was COTA, where SVG crossed the line in 2nd, but, he was later penalized for a track limits violation.

Compare that season to the first year Marcos Ambrose had in the Xfinity Series in 2007.

WinsTop 5sTop 10sAvg FinishPoints PositionLead Lap FinishesDNFs

Granted, the sport is much different now than it was back then. However, SVG is on pace to surpass Ambrose in top-5s, top-10s, average finish, lead lap finishes, and DNFs.

Comparing SVG to Teammates

Kaulig Racing has been noticeably down this season. As the calendar is about to hit June, the team hasn’t won an Xfinity Series race. This even sparked rumors of a potential merger with Trackhouse that Chris Rice quickly shot down.

The closest comparison SVG can make to his own performance is the drivers on his own team. Well, here is how A.J. Allmendinger and Josh Williams stack up 12 races into the season.

WinsTop 5sTop 10sAvg FinishPoints PositionLead Lap FinishesDNFs
A.J. Allmendinger02614.76th81
Josh Williams00221.520th52

SVG is right in the middle of these drivers in most categories. He does have more lead lap finishes than the other two, but, that can be attributed to how he’s approaching this season. He is a rookie, who needs to learn and not make big mistakes to cost him precious track time.

Ultimately, SVG is not quite performing at the level of Allmendinger, but Allmendinger is a seasoned veteran in NASCAR as a whole. It’s tough for SVG to be as good as Allmendinger right out of the gate, particularly on ovals.

Keep in mind how well SVG and Allmendinger battled on road courses. SVG can hold his own when he plays to his strengths, even if COTA did not end well for either SVG or Allmendinger.

Overall, it’s fair to say that SVG is performing about to expectations. He’s really good at road courses, but he has much to learn about ovals. He’s completing all of the laps in most of the races he is competing in, and he is maximizing his ability for now.

Is he living up to the hype? That’s tough to say, as winning the Chicago Street Race set the expectations sky-high, but he’s doing what he can.

As the season goes on, however, it will be vital for SVG to improve even more. A good start is getting more consistent top 5 and top 10 results on ovals. If he wants to be successful in the Cup Series, he has to get better at that.

What do you think about all this? Let us know on Discord or X what your take is, and don’t forget you can also follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and even YouTube.

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