Allmendinger Wins a Humdinger at Indy

Photo credit: Bob Goshert for IndyStar

"Could there be a more significant place for you to win?"

AJ Allmendinger: "No."

That about sums up today's Verizon 200 at the Brickyard NASCAR Cup Series results.

Allmendinger, who ran his only Indianapolis 500 with the NTT IndyCar Series in 2013, had his chance to win that race ruined when he was forced to pit late with a defective seat belt. Today, though, Allmendinger, racing part-time for Kaulig Racing, survived the mayhem of the final laps to avenge his bad luck from the past and win the race.

Fantasy fans trying to look up odds for Sunday's race might have noticed that none were even listed for Allmendinger.  

“This is unbelievable,” Allmendinger told NBC Sports. “In my wildest dreams, I couldn’t imagine the way that just played out. … It was survival of the fittest. We probably had, like, an eighth- to 10th-place car. I sped on pit road. I thought I was gonna finish 12th to 15th. And then those restarts were just insane.

“It’s great when you have a car owner (Matt Kaulig) that just says, ‘Go get me trophies.’ He doesn’t care if that thing’s torn up.”

In the first laps of the race, everything appeared "normal."  As time went on, a series of bizarre events and crashes kept constantly changing the running order.  Pieces of the track degraded.  Cars were thrown airborne, subsequently.  Penalties were questionable.   In total, 95 laps were run in a race that was scheduled for 80. 

Toward the end of the race, leader Denny Hamlin was spun by the No. 14 of Chase Briscoe who had previously been penalized by cutting a corner driving across the grass for the lead. Briscoe subsequently thought he had served his penalty when in fact he had not. 

“To me just lack of situational awareness,” Hamlin said to NBCSN of the contact. “...I’m not like furious. It just sucks. Turned our day upside down.”  Hamlin has yet to win a race in the 2021 Cup season but has now clinched a spot through points alone. 

This error led the way for Allmendinger to take the lead.  

“Oh my God, I just won at Indy. Shank, I just wanted to be like you,” Allmendinger yelled to the crowd, referencing Michael Shank’s 2021 owner win at the Indianapolis 500. “It was just survival of the fittest.”

Allmendinger Wins a Humdinger at Indy Allmendinger Wins a Humdinger at Indy Reviewed by laweez on Sunday, August 15, 2021 Rating: 5