The three-time Supercars champ is making his NASCAR oval debut in Friday’s Truck Series playoff-opener at IRP, driving the No. 41 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado.
He completed 16 laps in practice, posting a fast lap of 24.125sIn the Group A practice, he ranked 12th among the 19 trucks. However, his time on the track was cut short due to battery problems and several interruptions caused by red flags. As a result, he ended up in the 32nd position on the speed charts.
After completing his 15-minute practice session, Van Gisbergen had a conversation with Fox Sports 1 (FS1). However, it was challenging to hear him due to the noise caused by the second group of trucks racing around the 0.686-mile short track.
“I don’t understand what you just said,” he said, smiling. These vehicles without mufflers are incredibly loud. Despite that, I enjoyed myself and am gradually adjusting to it. It’s clear that I didn’t fully utilize the potential of the new tire, but towards the end, I felt somewhat competitive. The experience is quite distinct, especially the way it handles turns and gains momentum. I still have much to learn.”
During the qualifying session, Van Gisbergen initially completed Lap 1 in 23.834 seconds. However, he significantly improved his time by more than three tenths of a second, achieving a time of 23.527 seconds on Lap 2. Despite this improvement, his time fell short by 0.643 seconds compared to the pole time set by Christian Eckes.
He finished in 28th place out of the 37 trucks that recorded a time, and will begin the race on the outer side of Row 14.
“It’s challenging,” he stated to FS1 following his qualifying attempt. “It’s purely based on instinct and reacting in the moment. On the first lap, I didn’t fully maximize my performance and had set higher expectations. I experienced a significant slide coming out of Turn 2 onto the backstraight. I’m still adapting to the situation. As for the second lap, I was uncertain about what to anticipate. However, I had an incredible time improving my skills. It appears that I will be positioned right in the midst of everything at the beginning, so it will be intriguing.”
Later on, he expressed, “I am thoroughly enjoying myself. I am gaining a wealth of knowledge with each lap, and I hope to have the opportunity to complete some extended runs during the race. This way, I can establish a steady pace and continue to acquire valuable insights throughout the evening.”