Drivers have been left somewhat unhappy with the sparse Supercars calendar this season, and now NASCAR is poised to be the biggest beneficiary. After reigning Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen became the first driver to win on their NASCAR debut in 60 years, championship front-runner Brodie Kostecki is also set to make his own debut.
Kostecki will be making a return to the US, having competed in junior categories of NASCAR prior to his arrival in the Australian series. The pair will race when NASCAR hits the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway later this month.
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It shapes as a massive weekend both for American motorsport at the former Supercars stars currently competing in the US, with the Indycar series also hosting a round the same weekend. Fellow Supercars alumni Scott McLaughlin, who has been racing for Team Penske since 2020.
Van Gisbergen, currently sitting fourth in the Supercars standings, has been rumoured to be considering his options abroad after expressing some dissatisfaction with the series' 'next-gen' car concept. Fresh from his debut NASCAR victory in Chicago, the 34-year-old Kiwi will once again join Trackhouse Racing for the Indy race, alongside teammates Ross Chastain and Daniel Suarez.
"I never dreamed this could have all rolled out this way," van Gisbergen said. "Just getting to race in NASCAR is an opportunity I never thought I would get, but then to win and get another chance this year is beyond anything I imagined.
"I can't thank (Trackhouse Racing founder and owner) Justin Marks, everyone at Trackhouse Racing and NASCAR enough for this opportunity. Everyone in NASCAR welcomed me to Chicago and it's been awesome to see how big the reception from that race has been around the world. I am honoured to be part of it."
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NASCAR commentators noted the way Supercars need to be driven could suit those drivers well in their switch to NASCAR, particularly on road course. A camera mounted in the footwell of van Gisbergen's car during the race in Chicago allowed commentators to note how his use of the clutch, a necessity in Supercars but not always so in NASCAR, different from that of series regulars.
Kostecki was similarly thrilled to be making his own debut in the NSACAR Cup series with Richard Childress Racing. The last Supercars driver to make a full-time go of it in the series was two-time champion Marcos Ambrose.
"I am thrilled to be making my NASCAR Cup debut at the Brickyard," he said. "It's an honour to compete at such an iconic venue and against some of the biggest names in motorsport.
"I'm incredibly grateful to RCR for giving me this opportunity and I'm determined to make the most of it. Racing is at the core of everything I do and NASCAR has been a lifelong goal of mine after spending years growing up in the sports heartland in North Carolina.
"It's a whole different world over there and any additional time I can spend racing is only going to help me try and win my first Supercars Championship. We got some great exposure to the inner sanctum of the team during our recent trip, and I cannot wait to immerse myself in the team, this time as a Cup Series driver."
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