Motorsport: Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen makes promising NASCAR Xfinity qualifying debut at Daytona, race postponed for weather

Shane van Gibsergen during Xfinity qualifying at Daytona.
Shane van Gibsergen during Xfinity qualifying at Daytona. Photo credit: Getty Images

Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen has made a promising qualifying debut on the NASCAR Xfinity series, but will have to wait a little longer to start his first race in the American second-tier championship.

The three-time Aussie Supercars champion has switched fulltime to the US circuit, after winning his first appearance on an Chicago street circuit last July, but faces a challenging apprenticeship on the 'superspeedway' venues widely used for the stockcar events.

Van Gisbergen has qualified fifth-fastest for the Xfinity race at Daytona - one of the iconic stops on the NASCAR schedule - clocking 49.83s, just 0.128s slower than teenager polesitter Jesse Love. Two-time defending champion Austin Hill was second-fastest.

At one point, the Kiwi found himself atop qualifying, before later drivers edged their way past on the grid.

The 300m-mile (482km) race has been delayed until Tuesday morning (NZ time), with heavy rain falling over northern Florida.

As he learns the intricacies of oval racing - something completely foreign to Supercars exponents - van Gisbergen has limited his NASCAR Cup schedule to just seven events in 2024, but will contest Xfinity and Truck events throughout the season.

On Saturday, as part of his licencing process, he was required to race in the ARCA (Automobile Racing Club of America) event on the Daytona undercard, but initially failed to qualify, only snuck into the field after a teammate withdrew and ultimately lasted only four laps, before he was caught in a multi-car wreck.