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NASCAR Cup Indianapolis

Van Gisbergen: IndyCar ace McLaughlin should be NASCAR wildcard

Shane van Gisbergen says his fellow multiple Supercars champion and Bathurst 1000 winner Scott McLaughlin should join him on the NASCAR grid as a road course wildcard in future.

Shane van Gisbergen, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden, Scott McLaughlin, DJR Team Penske Ford

Van Gisbergen, who makes his second NASCAR Cup start this weekend on the Indianapolis Road Course for Trackhouse, watched his old sparring partner McLaughlin in Chevrolet’s simulator this week, as his fellow Kiwi prepared for his IndyCar element of the double-header weekend.

McLaughlin defeated van Gisbergen in their last three seasons racing together in Supercars, since when SVG has won back-to-back titles Down Under, as Scott switched to Team Penske’s IndyCar team.

“It would be cool to have him join,” said van Gisbergen of getting McLaughlin into NASCAR. “He should’ve done a wildcard this weekend.

“[On Tuesday] he was at the simulator when I was, so they invited me to sit-in on his session and I got to listen for a bit and watch how he was driving and how that side of things work. It was very cool to see and it’s awesome to be in a similar world to him again.

“We went for lunch on my last trip [to America] and he was just so encouraging about coming over here giving it a crack. So, yes, it’s awesome to be around him again.”

Shane van Gisbergen, Trackhouse Racing

Shane van Gisbergen, Trackhouse Racing

Photo by: Owlpine Group

McLaughlin said it was interesting to see the differences between their machinery around the IMS road course in their respective Chevrolet-powered cars.

“I felt it was cool to have him here, come into our session, just watch me race around for a little bit, it was funny to see the differences between a NASCAR and an IndyCar – he was laughing at that,” said McLaughlin.

“It’s exciting to have him racing on the same weekend, I think he’s going to jump on our pit stand in our sessions or the race. Super cool to be racing again on the same weekend as him and Brodie [Kostecki]. It’s gonna be awesome.”

McLaughlin can't stay to watch van Gisbergen's Cup race at Indy on Sunday, as he's flying to New York to pick up his dog. But Scott says he's happy to show Shane around the IndyCar paddock.

He added: “It's going to be awesome. I don't know how much time he's going to have. I know he said he was going to pop past a fair bit, check it all out.

“He's a racer, man. He loves it. Between his Truck and his Cup, he's going to be out here and supporting us where he can. I know Brodie is the same. Super excited to see these guys.

“I'm not staying Sunday. I'm going home and going to watch it from my couch, which is a fantastic thing. No, I am actually flying to New York to pick up my dog and driving home 10 hours. I'll be driving and listening to it on the radio.”

Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske Chevrolet

Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske Chevrolet

Photo by: Gavin Baker / Motorsport Images

Van Gisbergen said he was looking forward to seeing his first IndyCar Series action in the flesh since it last visited Australia’s Gold Coast in 2008, when Ryan Briscoe scored a home win for Penske.

“Obviously they’re racing on Saturday after our qualifying, and they’ve invited me to go and watch the race on the pitbox which will be awesome,” said van Gisbergen.

“I haven’t seen an IndyCar race since they were in Surfers [Paradise] in 2008, so it’s going to be awesome to go and watch him and see Scott Dixon race as well.

“It’s just cool to be a part of it, and it’s been great to watch IndyCar the last couple of years, cheering him on, and that series looks awesome how competitive it is. Those guys are at the top of their game, and I’m looking forward to seeing how that works as well.”

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