Shane van Gisbergen speeds to first Xfinity career pole at Sonoma

Rookie Shane van Gisbergen checked off another accomplishment to his racing resume by notching his first NASCAR Xfinity Series career pole for the second annual running of the Zip Buy Now, Pay Later 250 at Sonoma Raceway on Saturday, June 8.

The three-time Supercars champion from Auckland, New Zealand, commenced his first NASCAR weekend at Sonoma on a strong note by being the fastest during Friday’s lone practice session. After being one of 10 competitors to transfer into the final round of qualifying through two qualifying groups, van Gisbergen, who was the fastest in his qualifying group, posted his best qualifying lap at 95.933 mph in 74.677 seconds, which was enough to claim the pole position over a hard-charging Ty Gibbs.

The first Xfinity pole for van Gisbergen comes on the heels of his first Xfinity career victory at Portland International Raceway a week ago, a victory that places him in contention to make the 2024 Xfinity Series Playoffs. He has also recorded two top-five and three top-10 results through his previous 13 starts in this year’s Xfinity campaign and is ranked in 14th place in the current Xfinity regular-season standings with 303 points.

In addition to his road-course expertise and the speed of his No. 97 WeatherTech/Kaulig Racing Chevrolet Camaro entry, van Gisbergen credited his wheel force test he performed in a Cup Series’ Next Gen Chevrolet stock car entry at Sonoma in early May that enabled him to navigate his way around Sonoma Raceway for the first time.

“The WeatherTech Chevrolet, it’s rapid, man,” van Gisbergen said on FS2. “I didn’t do the best laps I could. Still, to have that gap on the field, these [No. 97] guys have done an awesome job. We changed quite a lot from last week. It’s good. I understand what I need from the car to be faster…These NASCAR races are an adventure, so I’m sure this afternoon won’t be plain sailing. We’ll try and get through it.”

Ty Gibbs, a Cup Series regular who is making his third Xfinity start of the 2024 season for Joe Gibbs Racing, posted the second-fastest qualifying lap at 95.458 mph in 75.049 seconds and will share the front row with van Gisbergen. Gibbs finished in fourth place while competing in the inaugural Xfinity event at Sonoma a year ago.

Austin Hill will line up in third place and start in the second row alongside AJ Allmendinger while Justin Allgaier will start in fifth place as he will share the third row with rookie Jesse Love. John Hunter Nemechek, Sam Mayer, Sheldon Creed and Sammy Smith, all transferred into the final round of qualifying, completing the top 10 in the starting lineup.

Chandler Smith, the first competitor who fell short of transferring into the final round of qualifying, will start in 11th place and will share the fifth row with series’ points leader Cole Custer.

Notably, Parker Kligerman, who was second fastest behind van Gisbergen during Friday’s practice session, will start in 14th place. Kyle Sieg, piloting the No. 28 RSS Racing Ford Mustang entry that won the inaugural Xfinity event at Sonoma with veteran Aric Almirola a year ago, will start in 32nd place. With Almirola not entered in this weekend’s event, we will see a new race winner in the series’ annual visit to Sonoma.

In addition, Boris Said, who wrecked the No. 17 Chevrolet Camaro during Friday’s practice session and switched to a backup car from JR Motorsports, will line up in 35th place as he relied on owner points to make the event. Other competitors who relied on owner points to make the event included Ryan Ellis, Matt DiBenedetto, Hailie Deegan and Garrett Smithley.

With 39 competitors vying for 38 starting spots, Sage Karam, piloting the No. 35 Toyota entry for Joey Gase Motorsports, was the only competitor who did not qualify for the main event.

Qualifying position, best speed, best time

  1. Shane van Gisbergen, 95.933 mph, 74.677 seconds
  2. Ty Gibbs, 95.458 mph, 75.049 seconds
  3. Austin Hill, 95.370 mph, 75.118 seconds
  4. AJ Allmendinger, 95.040 mph, 75.379 seconds
  5. Justin Allgaier, 95.009 mph, 75.403 seconds
  6. Jesse Love, 94.939 mph, 75.459 seconds
  7. John Hunter Nemechek, 94.751 mph, 75.609 seconds
  8. Sam Mayer, 94.716 mph, 75.637 seconds
  9. Sheldon Creed, 94.624 mph, 75.710 seconds
  10. Sammy Smith, 94.509 mph, 75.802 seconds
  11. Chandler Smith, 94.607 mph, 75.724 seconds
  12. Cole Custer, 94.563 mph, 75.759 seconds
  13. Parker Retzlaff, 94.427 mph, 75.868 seconds
  14. Parker Kligerman, 94.389 mph, 75.899 seconds
  15. Riley Herbst, 94.360 mph, 75.922 seconds
  16. Anthony Alfredo, 94.159 mph, 76.084 seconds
  17. Ed Jones, 94.102 mph, 76.130 seconds
  18. Ryan Sieg, 94.050 mph, 76.172 seconds
  19. Alex Labbe, 93.741 mph, 76.423 seconds
  20. Jeb Burton, 93.661 mph, 76.489 seconds
  21. Blaine Perkins, 93.624 mph, 76.519 seconds
  22. Austin Green, 93.601 mph, 76.538 seconds
  23. Jeremy Clements, 93.593 mph, 76.544 seconds
  24. Preston Pardus, 93.566 mph, 76.566 seconds
  25. Kyle Weatherman, 93.532 mph, 76.594 seconds
  26. Thomas Annunziata, 93.515 mph, 76.608 seconds
  27. Brandon Jones, 93.499 mph, 76.621 seconds
  28. Josh Williams, 93.270 mph, 76.809 seconds
  29. Leland Honeyman, 93.251 mph, 76.825 seconds
  30. Brad Perez, 93.131 mph, 76.924 seconds
  31. Josh Bilicki, 93.112 mph, 76.940 seconds
  32. Kyle Sieg, 93.109 mph, 76.942 seconds
  33. Brennan Poole, 93.039 mph, 77 seconds
  34. Ryan Ellis, Owner Points
  35. Boris Said, Owner Points
  36. Matt DiBenedetto, Owner Points
  37. Hailie Deegan, Owner Points
  38. Garrett Smithley, Owner Points

The 2024 NASCAR Xfinity Series Zip Buy Now, Pay Later 250 at Sonoma Raceway is set to occur on Saturday, June 8, and air at 8 p.m. ET on FS1.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of


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