Defending Chicago winner Shane van Gisbergen’s day ends early in Stage 2

After winning Stage 1, defending Chicago victor Shane van Gisbergen’s day ended in Stage 2 after contact with Chase Briscoe.

It will not be back-to-back Chicago Street Course victories for Shane van Gisbergen as he exited Sunday afternoon’s race on Lap 26 in the Grant Park 165.

After taking the restart for Stage 2 in wet conditions, van Gisbergen’s No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet was clipped by an errant Chase Briscoe in Turn 6 as the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford careened into the tire barrier. The bump from Briscoe launched van Gisbergen into the wall, causing heavy right-side damage and ending the day for the defending Chicago winner.

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Van Gisbergen won Stage 1 and led nine laps before the incident. He was running inside the top five as the incident happened.

“I just sort of turned in; it looked pretty good and then just got smacked by someone,” van Gisbergen said. “It‘s gutting. The No. 16 Wendy‘s Saucy Nuggs Camaro was really good. We were in the lead for a lot of that race. I felt good taking off in the rain, so that sucks. It‘s an unfortunate mistake by him. I‘m sure he didn‘t mean it. But yeah, when he just clipped me, there wasn‘t anything I could do.”

The three-time Supercars champion was aiming to go a perfect 3-for-3 in Chicago, winning the inaugural event in 2023 in addition to Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race. Instead, his No. 16 Chevrolet was towed back to its hauler with a destroyed right-front suspension that ultimately ended his day.

“Of course I‘m disappointed,” said van Gisbergen, who started fifth. “We had a really amazing Camaro there. Kaulig Racing and Trackhouse Racing, they gave us a great car. We were able to lead and I felt like I was driving well with it, so yeah, it‘s a shame to be out so early. It‘s a shame we couldn‘t have a proper crack at it at the end.”

The race began with some drivers on slick Goodyear tires and some on wets once rain overcame the street course moments after the command was given to fire engines. That mix of weather and strategy produced a challenge SVG and his fellow competitors had to navigate.

“It was fun. On slicks, it got a bit dodgy. I hated being the leader,” van Gisbergen said. “Whoever was the leader, you could see them slowing up, not knowing what the condition would be. As soon as you got to the front, you were unsure of what was happening and had to take it a bit easy. But yeah, I had a lot of fun until then.”

The race is currently under red-flag conditions due to inclement weather on Lap 26. Ty Gibbs is scored as the leader followed by Christopher Bell, Kyle Larson, Zane Smith and Tyler Reddick in the top five.

This story will be updated.