Motorsport: Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen starting from bottom on NASCAR undercard at Daytona

Shane van Gisbergen in Xfinity practice at Daytona.
Shane van Gisbergen in Xfinity practice at Daytona. Photo credit: Getty Images

Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen hasn't exactly found a red carpet awaiting him at the first event of his debut season on the NASCAR circuit.

The three-time Aussie Supercars champion has switched fulltime to the American stockcar championship, after his stunning maiden victory on the Chicago street circuit last July.

He intends contesting all three levels of the promotion - NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and Truck - but must first learn how to race on oval superspeedways, which are totally foreign to him.

While most of his rivals will contest the Daytona 500 in Florida on Monday (NZ time), van Gisbergen has found himself unable to qualify for an 80-lap feeder race run by the Automobile Racing Club of America - part of his licencing requirements.

Fifty drivers entered for the event, with only 40 grid positions available and automatic qualifying at 34. After clocking the 13th-fastest time in practice, van Gisbergen finished 35th in qualifying - one spot outside the cut and almost two seconds slower than polesitter Willie Mullins.

He has gained entry only after Pinnacle Racing Group teammate Eric Caudell, who qualified 17th, withdrew, allowing the Kiwi to slip in the backdoor.

Bad weather has seen the ARCA race has been brought forward to 4:30pm Saturday (NZ time).

Van Gisbergen also participated in Xfinity practice, returning the 12th fastest time, with qualifying scheduled for Sunday morning (NZ time).