Shane van Gisbergen Finally Wins in the Xfinity Series

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Shane van Gisbergen First Xfinity Series WinMeg Oliphant - Getty Images

Eleven months ago, Shane van Gisbergen won in his first-ever NASCAR Cup race; that historic win led the New Zealand driver and V8 Supercar champion to consider coming to the United States and pursuing NASCAR. The move to the States happened a year earlier than originally planned, and van Gisbergen has been racing the No. 97 in the Xfinity Series full-time. Saturday night, in the 13th race of the season, van Gisbergen captured his first win at Portland International Raceway. He's now locked into the playoffs in his rookie year.

Road courses have always been the best bet for when van Gisbergen would take one home, and after nearly winning at COTA and receiving an after-race penalty for exceeding track limits , Portland was the next chance for van Gisbergen on a road course. When he took the win, he drifted his Camaro around the circuit for almost a full lap before throwing a signed rugby ball far into the grandstands ecstatic to win again on the American stage.

The next goal for the New Zealand driver is to win on an oval; he came close in February when he finished third at Atlanta Motor Speedway in only his second start racing on an oval.


Van Gisbergen's win came in a race filled with cautions and attrition, and he wasn't removed from the melee when, on lap one, he spun Sam Meyer from the lead, sending the No. 1 car back to 27th position.

In his post-race interview with Fox Sports, van Gisbergen took the opportunity to first apologize to Mayer for the incident, "I'm very sorry to Sam Mayer for the first corner. I just mucked up there."

Van Gisbergen also maintained control as he exited the track and slid across the grass before carefully reentering the racing line; this time, he did not improve his position, and no penalties followed.

It took three tries to finish the final 10 laps, giving Justin Allgaier, who won the first two stages, multiple chances to get back by van Gisbergen. Allgaier would have to settle for his second second-place finish at the track in as many years.

"Under those restarts, we were so free taking off," Allgaier told Fox Sports. "The car was struggling to get grip. Once I got the tires hot, it was really, really good. That's the hardest part; once he got by me there, I probably overdrove it trying to get back to him."

The biggest caution came with eight laps to go when Brennan Poole and Ryan Sieg spun, collecting five other cars. Brandon Jones and Chandler Smith received the brunt of the damage and both were released from the infield care center.

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