Shane van Gisbergen and Brodie Kostecki have endured mixed fortunes in Monday’s (AEST) NASCAR Cup Series race at Indianapolis.
Van Gisbergen raced from eighth to 10th, with Kostecki vaulting from the rear of the grid to 22nd.
It was van Gisbergen’s second top 10 in as many NASCAR Cup starts after his shock win in Chicago last month, with the Kiwi
Van Gisbergen and Kostecki were best of the international stars making cameos, ahead of Mike Rockenfeller in 24th, Jenson Button 28th and Kamui Kobayashi 33rd.
The race was won by Michael McDowell, the 2021 Daytona 500 winner, who led more than half of the 82-lap race in the #34 Front Row Motorsports Ford.
With victory, McDowell booked his ticket to the NASCAR Playoffs, with Hendrick Motorsports driver Chase Elliott (#9 Chevrolet) 0.937s back in second.
“Oh man, this is a dream come true. I’m just so thankful for everybody at Front Row Motorsports and [owner] Bob Jenkins,” said McDowell, who took his second Cup win.
“Man, we had a fast Ford Mustang today. We had the fastest car… to put on a performance like that, I don’t know if it was dominant, but it felt pretty dominant to me.”
Van Gisbergen’s Trackhouse Racing stablemate Daniel Suarez (#99 Chevrolet) rounded out the podium, with victory slipping through his fingers after a slow stop.
Three-time Supercars champion van Gisbergen fought in the top 10 all race, with the Kiwi at one stage running in with Christopher Bell (#20 Toyota) and Ty Gibbs (#54 Toyota).
The race produced just one caution, and it came on lap 2 when Joey Logano (#22 Ford) collided with Justin Haley (#31 Chevrolet) through Turns 5 and 6.
Haley was sent into the tyre barrier, with van Gisbergen eighth and Kostecki 35th at the time of caution.
Logano spun in the middle of the pack at Turn 1 when the race restarted, with McDowell taking the lead from Suarez.
Gibbs was turned by van Gisbergen, who was then bumped from eighth by Alex Bowman (#48 Chevrolet) at Turn 4 on lap 10, with Chase Briscoe (#14 Ford) getting by at Turn 7.
McDowell ended Stage 1 after 15 laps 0.720s ahead of Suarez, with Elliott, Tyler Reddick (#45 Toyota) and Kyle Larson (#5 Chevrolet) behind.
The race continued green, and Suarez jumped McDowell in the lane. All the while. Van Gisbergen stopped on lap 23, with Denny Hamlin (#11 Toyota) later winning Stage 2.
McDowell had passed Suarez for the effective lead, with Suarez and Elliott disputing effective second — the battle resulting in contact between the two Camaros.
Suarez’s race was delayed when a rattle gun hose got stuck under the left-front tyre during his stop.
Van Gisbergen briefly led before pitting on lap 51, with McDowell assuming the lead on lap 54, with Elliott 3.7s back.
McDowell wasn’t troubled from there, with van Gisbergen 10th and Kostecki last of those on the lead lap in 22nd.