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NASCAR Truck Indianapolis

Van Gisbergen: "I'm living the dream" after NASCAR oval debut

Shane van Gisbergen called his NASCAR Truck Series debut at IRP "awesome" after making steady improvement throughout the race.

Van Gisbergen qualified 28th in the 36-truck field on Friday at the 0.686-miles short track. Before that, he had just 15 minutes of practice with NASCAR's condensed schedule, completing 16 laps.

He quickly made ground early in the race, moving up to 22nd in the running order. By the end of Stage 1, he had gathered up a couple more spots and now ran 20th.

He fell back slightly in Stage 2, losing a lap to the race leader at one point. After a fierce battle with Taylor Gray, he ended the second stage in 21st but more importantly, as the first truck one lap down.

That would grant him the free pass, and he was waved back around onto the lead lap.

During the final stage, he narrowly avoided Dean Thompson's crashed truck in Turn 3, just moments before Spencer Boyd collided with Thompson.

In fact, SVG's truck took the checkered flag with hardly a mark on it. After running as high as 15th during the last stint, he struggled with the handling and fell back and ended up in a three-wide battle for position.

His efforts would earn him a 19th-place finish, completing 199 of 200 laps.

"That was awesome but I have to say, a little gutted. 10 to go, finally dropped off the lead lap," he told Fox Sports 1. "But had a ball. Had some awesome racing with people. A lot of fun. Gotta thank Niece Motorsports, Worldwide Express and the Trackhouse guys for having me. I'm living the dream.

"It was really cool. Everyone was respectful. It was awesome."

He later added: "I got a lot to learn. Pace was OK in some spots. I probably gave the wrong call on the adjustments and we really dropped on the last stint, but it was so much fun."

Van Gisbergen will now switch his focus from the short track to the big speedway, preparing to make his second-career NASCAR Cup Series start this weekend when he takes on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course.

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