Shane van Gisbergen describes his “aggressive” approach after Sonoma Xfinity success

NASCAR Xfinity Series Zip Buy Now, Pay Later 250
Shane van Gisbergen, winner of the NASCAR Xfinity Series Zip Buy Now, Pay Later 250 (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

NASCAR Xfinity Series rookie Shane van Gisbergen claimed back-to-back victories at Portland and Sonoma. He has now cemented himself as a playoff contender in his rookie campaign with Kaulig Racing.

Following his maiden Xfinity Series win at Portland International Raceway, the Kiwi driver and the #97 team went on an aggressive strategy at Sonoma Raceway. To maximize their points haul, Van Gisbergen collected points in the first two stages instead of pitting and maintaining track position.

Having secured a playoff spot, Shane van Gisbergen explained that the team aimed to fetch maximum points this weekend. He admitted that gaining track positions after every stage proved to be a difficult task, but they managed to execute the strategy and win the race.

"We took stage points both times, so now with a win we can afford to do that, think about points more and get more. So yeah, was aggressive, but it puts us back in the traffic each time when the stage starts. So yeah, had to make some moves which got us in trouble. Last restart as well, we made a hole I guess," he said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Shane van Gisbergen started the race in pole position and won the first stage. He managed to score a second-place finish in the second stage. In the final stretch of the race, he dueled with Austin Hill for the lead.

He ultimately got by in the final restart which involved contact with the #21 Chevy driver, who got shuffled down the order.

The #97 Kaulig Racing driver took his second victory of the season, equalling Austin Hill and Chandler Smith's tally. Fetching 59 points this weekend, Van Gisbergen broke into the top 10 in the NASCAR Xfinity driver's standings.


Shane van Gisbergen elaborates on late-race contact with Austin Hill

Van Gisbergen and Austin Hill were racing side-by-side on the final restart when the former went for a gap and shoved Hill off his racing line. The pivotal overtake earned the Kiwi driver his victory, while the #21 Richard Childress Racing driver had to settle for a fifth-place finish.

Speaking about his run-ins with Hill, Shane van Gisbergen was asked if he anticipates the former to return the favor in the coming races. The Kiwi driver replied in the post-race press conference:

"I don't know, I hate racing and thinking like that. But to me we are both taking a race win off each other now. I didn't go into the corner planning to take him out like I wasn't gonna hit him off the track. I was gonna try pass him and I did everything.." he told Bob Pockrass.

Hill was upset with Van Gisbergen's overtake, refusing to give his opinion on the late-race contact with his rival.

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