Shane van Gisbergen shocked NASCAR fans and professionals when he won his debut Cup Series race in Chicago.
The last time someone won in their debut race in the Cup Series was in 1963 when Indy car racer Johnny Rutherford won a Daytona 500 qualifier. van Gisbergen has put himself in NASCAR history books with not just that feat but also winning the inaugural edition of the Chicago Street Race.
For the race, he drove the No. 91 Chevrolet for Trackhouse Racing as a part of their Project 91 initiative. While it was a one-off event for the three-time Supercars champion, the question now is: will he come back to the Cup Series again, maybe even to pursue a career?
His team’s, Triple Eight Race Engineering, managing director Jamie Whincup said that if his driver wanted to pursue a NASCAR career, he wouldn’t get in van Gisbergen’s way.
“He’s only contractually bound to us for next year,” Wincup told Fox Sports.
“But me sitting here right now, of course I’m trying to run the business as well as I possibly can, and I need the best drivers – but if any driver, engineer, employee came to me and said, ‘hey, my dream is to go to the other side of the world and do something else’ then I’m not going to stand in their way, am I?”
The 34-year-old driver is currently under contract until the 2024 season. Despite his heroics, he will not be able to able to enter the 2023 Cup Series playoffs as only full-time drivers are allowed to take part in it.