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Van Gisbergen takes first Xfinity Series win

Kiwi Shane Van Gisbergen has held on for victory in the Xfinity race in Portland
A burnout to celebrate for Shane Van Gisbergen in the Xfinity Series in Oregon PHOTO: NASCAR

Shane van Gisbergen has claimed his first Nascar Xfinity Series victory with a win in in Portland, Oregon.

The New Zealand driver held on during the 1.967-mile (3.16km) road course after being challenged throughout.

The three-time Supercar champion, but the 35-year-old had to work for the win.


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The series rookie - who won the inaugural Chicago Street Race in his first Nascar Cup Series start last summer - led laps early in the No. 97 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet but struggled with race re-starts for much of the day.

He lost positions on the early restarts and even had to overcome a couple of miscues - dropping his tyres off track into the dirt - before steadily and masterfully working his way forward in the closing laps to challenge for the win.

He passed the day's most dominant driver, JR Motorsports' Justin Allgaier, on the final restart with four laps to go and pulled away to a .941-second victory over the series veteran, who led a race-best 46 of the race's 75 laps.

JR Motorsports' Sammy Smith, van Gisbergen's Kaulig teammate AJ Allmendinger (who started last in the field) and Sam Hunt Racing's Ed Jones - an IMSA sportscar and IndyCar veteran - rounded out the top five.

"What a day, really cool, had some great racing," said van Gisbergen, who immediately apologised to pole-winner Sam Mayer, whom he collided with and spun on the opening turn of the race.

"I need to get better on my restarts and learn how to position, but that was so much fun. Really cool racing. I love these cars, they're great."

It was a particularly crushing runner-up showing for Allgaier, who finished second in this race last year as well. Sammy Smith was third.

The next race in the series is at Sonoma, California, next Sunday (NZT).


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