Week 20 GFT NASCAR AI Driver Rankings: Shane Van Gisbergen Wins Chicago, Byron back to P1
2 July 2023
By Bob Francis, Managing Editor
Go Full Throttle Racing News
CHICAGO, IL — Shane Van Gisbergen, driver of the #91 Enhance Health Chevrolet, wins the NASCAR Cup Series Grant Park 220 at the Chicago Street Course in Chicago, Illinois. Trackhouse Racing’s Project 91 delivered big time in the inaugural Chicago Street Race, when New Zealand’s Shane Van Gisbergen became the 204th different race winner in NASCAR Cup Series history.
With the Chicago win, Van Gisbergen became seventh driver all-time in the NASCAR Cup Series history to win in his series debut and the first to do it since Johnny Rutherford accomplished the feat in 1963 at Daytona. Van Gisbergen is also the first driver not from the United States to win in his Cup Series debut.
BYRON RETAKES TOP RANKING
Points are tight as the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff eligibility starts getting tight. With 8 races remaining in the regular season, the battle for the top 16 spots is starting to take shape. Hendrick Motorsports Willam Byron finished 13th in Chicago, but in the tight points race with Martin Truex Jr, Byron retakes P1 after MTJ’s tough 32nd place finish. Stenhouse also had a tough day finishing 34th in Chicago and falling 2 spots to P14. At the cut line, Ty Gibbs moves in, benefiting from his 9th place to jump 2 spots to P16, with Suarez falling out of the Top 16.
Week 20 GFT NASCAR Box Scores after the Grant Park 220 in Chicago
Manufacturer Wins: Chevrolet = 13, Toyota = 6, Ford = 4
Hen = 7
JGR = 5
Pen = 3
RCR = 3
TH = 2
JTG = 1
SHR = 1
23XI = 1
RFK = 0
LGCY = 0
Looking to this weekend, the NASCAR Cup Series heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway with 10 different drivers entered in the Quaker State 400 Available at Walmart (July 9 at 7 p.m. ET on USA, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) looking for their first career Cup win — Harrison Burton, Ty Dillon, Ty Gibbs, Todd Gilliland, Noah Gragson, Austin Hill, Corey LaJoie, BJ McLeod, Ryan Preece and JJ Yeley. Spire Motorsport’s Corey LaJoie came close to getting his first career Cup win at Atlanta back in March, he finished a career-best fourth.
If there is another first-time winner this weekend at Atlanta, it will be the 23rd time the NASCAR Cup Series has seen back-to-back first-time winners; most recently, in 2021 when Michael McDowell (Daytona) and Christopher Bell (Daytona Road Course) opened up the season with two first-time winners.