NASCAR at Chicago street race results: Shane van Gisbergen wins the Grant Park 220 in his Cup Series debut

In his very first NASCAR Cup Series start in the very first street course race in Cup Series history, New Zealand native Shane van Gisbergen pulled off a stunner and won the Grant Park 220 at the Chicago Street Course. van Gisbergen, a three-time V8 Supercars champion with 80 career wins on the other side of the globe, took the lead from Justin Haley with five laps to go and pulled away to take the victory in a one-off start for Trackhouse Racing's Project91.

van Gisbergen becomes the first driver in NASCAR's modern era to win in his Cup Series debut, something that had not happened since all the way back in 1963. The six previous drivers to win in their first Cup start had been Jim Roper (Charlotte, 1949), Jack White (1949, Hamburg), Harold Kite (Daytona Beach, 1950), Leon Sales (North Wilkesboro, 1950), Marvin Burke (Oakland, 1951) and Johnny Rutherford (Daytona, 1963).

Grant Park 220 unofficial results

  1. #91 - Shane van Gisbergen
  2. #31 - Justin Haley
  3. #9 - Chase Elliott
  4. #5 - Kyle Larson
  5. #8 - Kyle Busch
  6. #2 - Austin Cindric
  7. #34 - Michael McDowell
  8. #22 - Joey Logano
  9. #54 - Ty Gibbs (R)
  10. #17 -  Chris Buescher

A native of Auckland, New Zealand, van Gisbergen came to America to try his hand at NASCAR after becoming one of the most accomplished V8 Supercar drivers -- three championships and 80 career victories, including two in the famed Bathurst 1000 -- over the past decade. While he was among the fastest cars all weekend long, van Gisbergen's chance would end up coming late in the race when he got to the front with 16 lap fresher tires than Haley and other drivers who got to the front on strategy.

With troubles for Christopher Bell and Tyler Reddick leaving van Gisbergen as the fastest car, the driver known as SVG would put his street course mastery to the test, taking the lead from Haley on a restart with five laps to go and surviving an overtime restart to make an improbable mark on NASCAR.

"No, of course not. But you always dream about it," van Gisbergen told NBC Sports when asked if he ever thought it was possible he could win. "Thank you so much to the Trackhouse team ... What an experience in the crowd out here. This is so cool. It's what you dream of. Hopefully I can come and do more ... The racing was really good, everyone was respectful. And it was tough, but a lot of fun."

van Gisbergen becomes the sixth foreign-born driver to win a Cup Series race, joining a group that now includes fellow V8 Supercars great Marcos Ambrose (Australia), Mario Andretti (Italy), Juan Pablo Montoya (Colombia), Earl Ross (Canada) and Trackhouse Racing teammate Daniel Suarez (Mexico). While Sunday marked the only planned NASCAR start for van Gisbergen, it may very well not be the last for the 34-year-old Kiwi.

"I'm doing one more year in (Australia), and then I'd love to come over here," he said.

Water World

Entering the weekend, the prospect of racing on the streets of a major city was enough of an unknown that it led to predictions of chaos among the Cup competitors. Then, all that uncertainty went up another octave by adding water. Tons of it.

Sunday's race was delayed by just over an hour due to a historic level of rainfall in Chicago, with the downpour breaking a record for rainfall on the date July 2 that had dated back to 1982. While standing water and flooding on pit road threatened the race altogether, the wet conditions eventually lightened enough that the race was able to begin with a wet-weather start.

As could be expected, rain and wet racing surface made for treacherous conditions, with the tire barriers throughout the circuit -- particularly in turn six -- getting quite the workout. Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Chase Elliott and more all became acquainted with the tire barriers at least once, and Noah Gragson managed to pull off a hat trick by hitting the Turn 6 barrier a total of three times.

By the middle of the race, Christopher Bell had established himself as the class of the field by easily winning both stages. However, the late start combined with a number of cautions slowing the pace meant that losing daylight was quickly going to become an issue. As such, NASCAR shortened Sunday's race from 100 to 75 laps, creating a flurry of strategy calls that led to Haley taking the lead.

After Austin Dillon missed Turn 12 and crashed trying to take the lead, Haley appeared to have done away with his greatest threat to a second career Cup victory that would have vaulted him onto the playoff grid. That was, until Shane van Gisbergen came charging to the front on far superior tires, denying Haley an upset bid of his own.

Playoff Picture

Alex Bowman's day took a turn for the worst when he was spun by Denny Hamlin just prior to the end of Stage 2, and he would shortly thereafter suffer an engine failure that left him with a 37th-place finish. Bowman's DNF would prove devastating to his place in the regular season standings, as he plummeted from 17th in points -- three markers below the cut line -- to 26 points below the cut line at 20th in the standings. Although Daniel Suarez would run up inside the top 10 for much of the day and scored points in both stages, left front fender damage late in the going would relegate Suarez to 27th and drop him to six points and below the cut line in 17th.

That was all to the benefit of Ty Gibbs, who used a ninth-place finish to move up to 16th in the standings and take the final spot on the playoff grid. As van Gisbergen's victory prevented Haley or another driver from earning a playoff spot with a win, the status quo was largely maintained for Kevin Harvick (+151), Chris Buescher (+104), Brad Keselowski (+91) and Bubba Wallace (+15).

Martin Truex Jr. continues to lead the regular season standings, but a 32nd-place finish after several accidents allowed William Byron to close in to within nine points of the points lead.

Race Results Rundown

  • Shane van Gisbergen's victory is also the first win for a true "road course ringer" -- a road racing specialist who does not normally compete in NASCAR -- in 50 years. The last win for a true road course ringer had belonged to Mark Donohue, who won the 1973 Winston Western 500 at Riverside driving the famed "flying brick" AMC Matador for Roger Penske.
  • Few drivers in Cup needed a top-10 run quite like Austin Cindric did, as he was able to end a recent string of misery with a sixth-place finish. Not only does that tie Cindric's best finish of the 2023 season, but it also ends an 11-race stretch where he'd had only one finish better than 19th.
  • Consider Michael McDowell on a hot streak. The driver of the No. 34 was a fixture inside the top 10 virtually all day, and he would come home seventh for his third top-10 finish in the past four races. That's helped put McDowell 18th in points, just 10 points below the playoff cut line.
  • British racing fans might be saying bollocks to Chris Buescher, as 2009 Formula One champion Jenson Button had a top-10 run going early until he got spun off the bumper of Buescher coming off Turn 12 onto pit road. That would end up being the last that was heard of Button -- who finished 21st -- but Buescher would go on to finish 10th, extending his streak of consecutive races with top-10 finishes on a road course to eight.
  • The very first spin of the day would go to Aric Almirola, who looped it around at the exit of Turn 5, but his day would vastly improve from there. Almirola would end up scoring a 12th-place finish, his second best of the entire 2023 season. Almirola led the way for Stewart-Haas Racing, followed by Ryan Preece in 15th who earned his sixth-straight finish of 17th or better.
  • Noah Gragson looked to bring home the bacon in his Wendy's Baconator Chevrolet, but Turn 6 of the Chicago Street Course tried its best to make a butt out of him. Gragson hit the tire barrier in that section of the course a total of three times, but it was never quite able to truly fry his No. 42. Gragson hung in there and crossed the line in 25th, his best finish since a 20th-place run at Circuit of the Americas in March.

Next Race

The NASCAR Cup Series gets back to its comfort zone in the southeast with the Quaker State 400 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Coverage of the race begins Sunday night at 7 p.m. ET on USA Network.

Updates
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He came all the way here from New Zealand, and he's going to come back with the trophy! Shane van Gisbergen steals the show in his NASCAR Cup Series debut and WINS the Grant Park 220 at Chicago!

1 - #91 - Shane van GIsbergen
2 - #31 - Justin Haley
3 - #9 - Chase Elliott
4 - #5 - Kyle Larson
5 - #8 - Kyle Busch
6 - #2 - Austin Cindric
7 - #34 - Michael McDowell
8 - #22 - Joey Logano
9 - #54 - Ty Gibbs (R)
10 - #17 - Chris Buescher

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@NASCAR via Twitter
July 3, 2023, 1:29 AM
Jul. 02, 2023, 9:29 pm EDT
 
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July 3, 2023, 1:29 AM
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Shane van Gisbergen is able to put a solid gap on Justin Haley. It's enough right now that Haley won't be able to outbrake him from this distance.

White flag this time by!

 
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@NASCAR via Twitter
July 3, 2023, 1:27 AM
Jul. 02, 2023, 9:27 pm EDT
 
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Despite the threat of darkness, we will indeed have enough daylight to go to Overtime. Two laps separating Shane van Gisbergen from pulling off a stunner, Justin Haley and Chase Elliott from getting a victory -- or something else entirely.

Two laps to settle it on the streets of Chicago!

 
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July 3, 2023, 1:23 AM
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July 3, 2023, 1:21 AM
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A bit of a nervous moment for Shane van Gisbergen under caution, who's still trying to learn the nuances of NASCAR Cup Series cars. He's two laps away from this blip in the engine not mattering.

 
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July 3, 2023, 1:20 AM
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July 3, 2023, 1:20 AM
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July 3, 2023, 1:19 AM
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TROUBLE, TURN 1! Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has gotten buried under the tire barrier after Bubba Wallace missed the corner and slid into him, and the caution is out!

With this race having already been shortened to 75 laps, we'll see if NASCAR elects to go to Overtime, or if this ends up being it.

 
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Shane van Gisbergen's lead is now 1.3 seconds over Justin Haley with three laps to go. Haley's most pressing issues are with the cars behind him: Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, and Kyle Busch are all over him.

Coming to two to go this time by.

 
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July 3, 2023, 1:15 AM
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Shane van Gisbergen is pulling away from Justin Haley. Four laps to go as SVG looks to try and check out on Justin Haley.

 
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July 3, 2023, 1:14 AM
Jul. 02, 2023, 9:14 pm EDT
 
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Green flag with five laps to go! Justin Haley gets the jump at the restart, but van Gisbergen won't let him get away!

HERE COMES THE 91 FOR THE LEAD IN TURN TWO, AND HE'S GOT IT! HERE COMES HALEY BACK IN TURN 3! VAN GISBERGEN CROSSES HIM OVER AGAIN IN TURN 4 AND GETS THE LEAD BACK!

 
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July 3, 2023, 1:12 AM
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A dedicated "road course ringer" -- an interloper who doesn't race full-time in NASCAR -- has not won a Cup Series race in 50 years. The last time? The season opener at Riverside in 1973, when Mark Donohue drove Roger Penske's AMC Matador to victory.

Winning as a road course ringer is one thing. But in NASCAR's modern era, no driver has EVER won in his NASCAR Cup Series debut. Five laps separate Shane van Gisbergen from potentially doing just that, if he can get by Justin Haley again.

 
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@NASCAR via Twitter
July 3, 2023, 1:08 AM
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CAUTION COMES OUT AS SHANE VAN GISBERGEN MAKES THE PASS! Martin Truex Jr. slammed the tire barriers to bring the caution out with eight laps to go JUST as van Gisbergen was passing Haley for the lead!

NASCAR confirms that Justin Haley was the leader at the last scoring loop. He'll hold the top spot under caution.

 
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Shane van Gisbergen makes it look easy as he overtakes Chase Elliott for second in Turn 2! Now he's ALL OVER the back bumper of Justin Haley for the lead!

 
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July 3, 2023, 1:02 AM
Jul. 02, 2023, 9:02 pm EDT
 
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Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick had a two car incident in Turn 1 with both cars spinning around. Harrison Burton also had trouble in Turn 1, missing the corner and sliding into the tire barrier. Everyone continues without further trouble.

Shane van Gisbergen has caught Chase Elliott for second and is the fastest car in the field. Nine laps to go.

 
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Here comes Shane van Gisbergen! He just passed Kyle Busch for third, and he has the freshest tires out of any car in the top five!

No driver in NASCAR's modern era has ever won in his Cup Series debut, but SVG is using all of his experience from V8 Supercars to add extreme intrigue to the conclusion of this race with 10 to go!

 
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July 3, 2023, 1:00 AM
Jul. 02, 2023, 9:00 pm EDT
 
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Dillon's accident has taken a ton of heat off of Justin Haley in the lead. He now has about a 1.7 second lead over Chase Elliott as he seeks his second career win.

If you'll recall: Haley's first and only Cup win came four years ago on July 4 weekend at Daytona, a race which also featured heavy rain and highly unusual circumstances that got Haley the lead.

 
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July 3, 2023, 12:57 AM
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DILLON MISSES THE CORNER ON THE EXIT OF TURN 12! HE POUNDS THE OUTSIDE WALL! Massive damage to Dillon's left front and his car now will not steer and he's trying to back it up onto pit road.

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