Home » Driver From New Zealand Wins NASCAR Race, Kicks Rugby Ball, Drifts Entire Track

Driver From New Zealand Wins NASCAR Race, Kicks Rugby Ball, Drifts Entire Track

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This weekend’s Xfinity Race in Portland was, fittingly, weird as hell. There were a bunch of restarts, a coyote, a crewmember sumo slamming the hood of a car, and it was all capped off with New Zealand’s Shane van Gisbergen winning his first Xfinity race then celebrating by kicking a rugby ball and burning down the whole track like it’s a freakin’ Applebees.

Also, we warned you! Or, more specifically, Aeden told you that you should care about Portland, and if you watched it, you were treated to one of the most exciting and strangest races in recent memory.

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It was great fun and it was capped off with a giant, almost full-track burnout. You can scroll down to see that, but here are some of the weird highlights:

Portland, as noted, is a one-off road course run by the Xfinity Series, while the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and Cup Series were off in Illinois. Driver AJ Allmendinger is one of the best road course racers in NASCAR, but during qualifying, he was a little off and attempted to improve his time with a faster run. He got it, but screwed up the car in the process. It’s not that AJ doesn’t make mistakes, but it was an unusual one.

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The race started a few hours later and, as usual, I was pulling for contributor Parker Kligerman and Aeden’s car, the #1 driven by Sam Mayer. Of course, if they didn’t win I was hopeful that Shane van Gisbergen might get his first Xfinity victory.

One of the main interruptions of that was a, uh, coyote jumping on the track:

I want to say that’s the first time I’ve seen that happen and, well, credit to the coyote for having the presence of mind to get off the track as soon as it saw the giant stock cars flying in its direction.

There were numerous leaders and a lot of exciting passes, most of which are captured in the official replay:

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Cars could barely stay on track but, due to the way Portland is laid out, cars seemed to be able to recover in most situations:

At one point, Jesse Love plowed into the rear of the car in front of him on a restart, causing the nose of his Chevy to ball up, making it difficult to see. This was conveniently near the entrance to pitlane and led to this absurd moment:

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It’s not clear who, exactly, that is, but Twitter seems to think it’s “Bug” Strimska. This is also one of those things that probably happens but I can’t remember seeing occur in a race. NASCAR crews regularly beat the crap out of body panels before putting on mounds of Bear Bond. Doing so by belly-flopping on the car is, uh, that’s new to me.

Justin Allgaier led for much of the race, including both stages, and was in a position to win for the second year in a row. Unfortunately for him, numerous restarts allowed Shane van Gisbergen (SVG) enough chances to figure out how to nail a restart. For those of you who don’t know, SVG is an Aussie V8 Supercars champion from New Zealand who won his first-ever NASCAR race when he was given a chance to drive in the Cup series in Chicago last year.

After that success, SVG was given a full-time ride in the Xfinity Series with Kaulig Racing and has performed well all year, but hasn’t been able to seal the deal until Portland. His celebration is amazing:

And here’s a GIF:

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I’ve seen some gnarly burnouts, but I’ve never seen someone try to drift an entire race track in a NASCAR stock car, though he didn’t quite nail it, which led him to say this after the race:

“It probably needs a bit of a tune-up, probably need more steering lock, I spun out so I’ll make that better the next time.”

My guess is he did about 90% better than most NASCAR drivers could, but he’s got experience:

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Oh, and did I mention his other signature victory move is apparently signing a rugby ball and kicking it into the crowd?

Even better because he’s about to do an interview and stops the interview by going “Wait, I gotta kick this ball.”

LOL.

Lead image: NASCAR/FS1

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TOSSABL
TOSSABL
15 days ago

CAR.
What is it good for?
Absolutly driftin

Robert Wielage
Robert Wielage
13 days ago
Reply to  TOSSABL

Say it again!

Ricardo
Ricardo
16 days ago

SVG is a freak. Grew up driving a rally car around his family farm in NZ and then ‘crosses the ditch’ to drive in Australia. He is fast but wild at first and damages cars, gets tangled up with others on track and off track and has been known to call a dickhead a dickhead.

With some more years and experience he becomes wickedly reliable, freakishly fast and even with worn tyres can hold or improve his position in a race. Also did some drifting and other driving gigs such as endurance GT3.

I’m not surprised he won another track race in NASCAR. Driving high-powered sliding V8s around a race circuit is not new to him. When he wins at an oval track will be a real example of his abilities to adapt.

His burnout abilities are well known over here.

Check out his celebrations burnout show he put on when he won the drivers championship.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGyoWzO44Iw

Be sure to watch until he see him exit the vehicle…..whilst in gear ……to collect the trophy and then return.

NodeBlue
NodeBlue
16 days ago

Late to the party here,

“…the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and Cup Series were off in Iowa.” is incorrect. They were actually in Madison, Illinois at World Wide Technology Raceway.

There was a recent Goodyear tire test at Iowa within the last week though…

Also SVG is awesome to see on the road and street courses showing the Xfinity and Cup drivers how its done.

El Barto
El Barto
17 days ago

Gizzo has def spent plenty of time in ‘straya – awesome to see him hooning around the track like a bogan. Aussies know what I mean, lol.

Noodles Gargamel
Noodles Gargamel
17 days ago

The Gis is the only reason I would watch Nascar.

Marc Fuhrman
Marc Fuhrman
17 days ago

This was a pretty fun race to watch. I do hope that they add Portland to the schedule again for next year.

Angular Banjoes
Angular Banjoes
17 days ago

We have a thing with coyotes showing up in odd places sometimes. I wonder if that guy also took the Max like his friend?

https://www.outdoorhub.com/social/new-modest-mouse-video-inspired-real-train-riding-coyote/

Along with Martin, Dutch Gunderson, Lana and Sally Decker
Along with Martin, Dutch Gunderson, Lana and Sally Decker
17 days ago

Drifting to celebrate a win (or a good finish) is kind of a V8 Supercars thing. At one point CAMS (IIRC the sanctioning body for V8 Supercars at the time) banned the practice in the name of “promoting a road safety message”, so in response drivers ignored the ban and did it anyway.

Óscar Morales Vivó
Óscar Morales Vivó
17 days ago

Did the coyote run out into the paddock painted on the wall?

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
17 days ago

SVG is one great addition to NASCAR.

That track is interesting. Would like to see a Cup race there too.
A bit of variety is good for racing. YMMV.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
17 days ago
Reply to  Col Lingus

I really enjoy watching his footwork. Reminds me of awhile back when Boris Said was our designated road course ringer, and the networks would always cut to the footwell cam to show him working all the pedals like a master.

SNL-LOL Jr
SNL-LOL Jr
17 days ago

I don’t have any real data, but do the cars look kind of sluggish in the curvy bits? GTE Am cars seem faster.

Jack Swansey
Jack Swansey
17 days ago
Reply to  SNL-LOL Jr

Old-school stock cars like the Xfinity Series runs are slow as hell through the corners. That means longer braking zones – which means more passing opportunities. Combined with NASCAR’s lax (near-nonexistent) policy on track limits, intentional contact and post-race fisticuffs, you tend to get a very silly race.

Which is why Xfinity stand-alone road courses tend to be some of the best shows of the year.

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange
17 days ago
Reply to  SNL-LOL Jr

Yes GT3/ GTE cars are way faster on most road courses than even the Cup Nascars (the long straights at Le Mans gave the garage 56 car an advantage there). The lap records at COTA are a great indicator of the relative speeds of all the major race series as it is about the only track they all have raced on in recent years.

Circuit of the Americas – Wikipedia

SNL-LOL Jr
SNL-LOL Jr
17 days ago
Reply to  Matthew Lange

The lap time chart is an eye-opener. Thanks.

I always thought that LMP1 can give F1 a run for the money. I was wrong. Perhaps nothing powers out of corner faster than the aero’ed-to-the-hilt F1.

Bhtooefr
Bhtooefr
16 days ago
Reply to  Matthew Lange

Also the Garage 56 car had aero mods and weight reduction compared to the NASCAR – that will have helped a lot too. (Even then, the ACO expected them to be slower than GTE-Am… and after practice, the GTE-Am teams all petitioned the ACO to let the Garage 56 car start ahead of them, so it wasn’t fighting through their field.)

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
17 days ago
Reply to  SNL-LOL Jr

A few years back, Chase Elliot (IIRC) ran the Rolex 24, and his big comment was that being accustomed to Cup cars, his worst habit was braking way too early in the turns, with the result of everyone then blasting by him as he poked up to it.

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