Motorsport: Supercars wiz Shane van Gisbergen makes history with maiden NASCAR victory at Chicago

Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen has scored a historic maiden victory in his first NASCAR drive at Chicago.

Relatively unaccustomed to the US racing format, the Aussie Supercars champion surprised everyone by clocking the fastest practice time and then qualifying third on the starting grid.

Van Gisbergen has carved a reputation for his versatility across motor racing, adding another feather to that bow, as he emerged from the mid-race carnage to take the lead with five laps remaining. 

Lapping faster than his rivals, he edged ahead of American Justin Haley, just as the race went under caution and had to concede that lead back, but struck quickly on the restart, edging ahead, losing the advantage and retaking it within a few seconds on the tricky street course - the first time NASCAR had ventured into an inner-city venue. 

The field was brought back together by yet another stoppage and when they restarted, van Gisbergen lead into two final laps, putting daylight between him and his pursuers on the run home.

"No, of course not, but you always dream of it," he said, when asked if he ever thought this result was possible.

"What an experience, with the crowd out here... this was so cool. It's what you dream of, and hopefully I can come and do more.

"When we had that bad strategy back to 18th, I started to worry a bit, but the racing was really good and everyone was respectful. It was tough, but a lot of fun."

After a late start, due to torrential rain, Van Gisbergen ran near the front of the race for the early stages, but was buried in the pack after a series of crashes and pit strategy went out the window, as the journey was shortened from 100 laps to 75, with darkness approaching.

He kept his cool and worked his way back up the standings, helped by a series of cautions and his rivals' inability to stay on track.

His victory is the first in 60 years by a driver on debut in NASCAR, but it may not be the last the Americans see of the Kiwi.

"I'm doing one more year in Oz and then I'd love to come over here," said van Gisbergen, whose streetrace experience held him in good stead.

Among those quick to congratulate him was former Supercars rival Scott McLaughlin, who finished fifth on the Indycar circuit at Mid-Ohio earlier in the day.

"Im so f***n happy for him," tweeted McLaughlin. "Enjoy every moment, brother.

"NZ represent. Emotional."