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Monday, May 27, 2024

Why NASCAR at Indy will likely be a must-watch for all followers

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With simply three races to go till the NASCAR Cup playoffs, the 82-lap race across the Indianapolis street course will likely be action-packed with excessive drama and even larger stakes for these not but locked in.

However there’s one other ingredient to this Sunday’s race: An F1 world champion, two Le Mans 24 Hours winners, a DTM champion, a three-time Supercars champion,and the present Supercars factors chief may even be on monitor.

 

Jenson Button

Button will likely be making his third and closing deliberate Cup begin of the yr. After ending 18th in his debut in Austin, he certified eighth at Chicago and completed twenty first. He’ll as soon as once more be driving the #15 Rick Ware Racing Ford.

The 43-year-old British racing driver additionally ran a extremely modified NASCAR inventory automobile at Le Mans this yr, profitable hearts and minds when he and co-drivers Jimmie Johnson and Mike Rockenfeller accomplished the 24-hour occasion within the widespread Storage 56 entry.

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He mentioned after Chicago: “I believe it’s going to be tough in Indianapolis. I’m slightly bit fearful, however I’ll sit up for it and do the most effective that I can.”

 

Kamui Kobayashi

The 36-year-old sportscar ace and former F1 driver will likely be making his NASCAR Cup debut this weekend, driving the #67 23XI Racing Toyota Camry.

Kobayashi will turn out to be the primary Japanese driver to start out a Cup race since Hideo Fukuyama over 20 years in the past at Sonoma.

He mentioned earlier this yr that to “sooner or later to race in NASCAR was my dream” as a baby. Even after beginning 75 F1 races and profitable total at Le Mans in 2021, the dream of competing in NASCAR remained.

“[The] first racing on TV was truly NASCAR [that I watched],” he mentioned earlier this yr. “After I was like 4 or 5 years {old}. I mentioned, ‘wow, that is cool’. And the primary time after I raced a go-kart, actually I did not know Method 1.”

Now, he’ll lastly get the prospect to dwell that childhood dream and can get to take action in race-winning gear. 23XI received earlier this season at COTA, and Travis Pastrana completed eleventh with the #67 automobile on this yr’s Daytona 500.

Race winner Shane van Gisbergen, Trackhouse Racing, Chevrolet Camaro

Race winner Shane van Gisbergen, Trackhouse Racing, Chevrolet Camaro

Picture by: David Rosenblum / NKP / Motorsport Images

Shane van Gisbergen

This New Zealander might have wanted an introduction for NASCAR followers earlier than Chicago, however not anymore. The three-time Supercars champion (2016, 2021, 2022) grew to become the primary driver in 60 years to win on debut when he drove from 18th to first within the inaugural working of NASCAR’s Chicago avenue race.

He’s made clear his intentions of making a permanent move to NASCAR, and can get one other style this weekend. As soon as once more driving the Project91 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet, he’ll attempt to hold his 100% win document alive.

“This entire NASCAR expertise has been a dream come true,” van Gisbergen mentioned this week forward of his second Cup begin. “I can not wait to get to America then Indy. It can actually be totally different than Chicago. I am going to have to stand up to hurry shortly, however we plan numerous simulator time and I do know [crew chief] Darian [Grubb] will likely be completely ready for Indy.

“We’ve got acquired to come back in and do our greatest, however you additionally have gotten to race with respect as nicely. These guys are combating for his or her championship each week, so I’ve acquired to come back in and keep out of bother.”

Van Gisbergen may even be working the Truck race at IRP this weekend, making his NASCAR oval debut with Niece Motorsports.

And he will not be the one Supercar driver within the Cup discipline on Sunday…

Brodie Kostecki, Erebus Motorsport Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

Brodie Kostecki, Erebus Motorsport Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

Picture by: Edge Photographics

Brodie Kostecki

A Perth native, Kostecki presently leads the Supercars championship and has some expertise driving inventory vehicles within the USA. He truly began 16 ARCA East races between 2013 and 2014.

This weekend, he’ll make his Cup debut driving the #33 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet.

RCR are the defending winners of at Indianapolis, and Kostecki has each the ability and the automobile beneath him to make some noise on Sunday.

“It’s an honour to compete at such an iconic venue and in opposition to a number of the largest names in motorsport,” he mentioned after the announcement. “Racing is on the core of all the pieces I do, and NASCAR has been a lifelong purpose of mine after spending years rising up within the sport’s heartland in North Carolina.”

#24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 of Mike Rockenfeller

#24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 of Mike Rockenfeller

Picture by: Marc Fleury

Mike Rockenfeller

Sure, Kobayashi will not be the one Le Mans 24 winner within the discipline. The German racing driver received the occasion total in 2010, and likewise earned a category victory there in 2005. Moreover, he received a DTM championship in 2013.

And as beforehand talked about, he was a part of the trio that piloted the favored Storage 56 NASCAR entry at this yr’s Le Mans.

He will likely be driving the #42 Legacy Motor Membership Chevrolet at IMS, a staff co-owned by his pal and Le Mans co-driver Johnson.

Rockenfeller made two Cup begins final yr driving for Spire Motorsports. He completed thirtieth at Watkins Glen and twenty ninth at Charlotte.

“After racing with Jimmie in IMSA for 2 years and collectively within the Storage 56 programme not solely have been we team-mates, however we are actually nice pals,” mentioned Rockenfeller earlier this week. 

“To get to race for him within the NASCAR Cup Sequence for LEGACY M.C. with him as a co-owner is such a real honour. It’s going to be an enormous problem as I’ve by no means raced at Indy. I used to be dreaming about being in a Cup automobile once more and I’m grateful for the chance. I’ll attempt my finest on this brief timeframe to come back along with the staff and have an important race in Indy.”

Seven nations spanning 4 continents will likely be represented within the race, and it isn’t typically star drivers from such numerous racing backgrounds come collectively in a single occasion like this. No matter what occurs on monitor, this Sunday’s race at Indianapolis is for certain to be a particular one for any fan of any type of motorsport.



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