30 Second Read: AJ Allmendinger upsets the field in the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard

 

                                  (AJ Allmendinger celebrating in victory lane at Indianopolis)    https://twitter.com/FuhryWayne/status/1427627618002776075?s=20

AJ Allmendinger has finally found himself back in victory lane in the NASCAR Cup series for the first time in seven years. His first win since Watkins Glen in 2014 and the first Cup series win for Kaulig Racing who will be going full time in the Cup series in 2022.

William Byron won the pole on Saturday for Sunday's Verizon 200 at the Brickyard with Chase Briscoe starting along side him on the front row. Stage one started hectic with a lot of three and four wide racing into the corners as drivers twisted and turned their way in the Indy Road Course. Lap five saw Martin Truex Jr experience a tire rub forcing him to pit road early, meanwhile a couple laps later, Indy Xfinity winner Austin Cindric would spin in turn one early but the race would stay green. As laps winded down in stage one, the leaders would pit leaving the battle for the lead to Michael McDowell and Tyler Reddick. Reddick would pass McDowell with two laps to remaining in the stage and hold on to win stage one.

Brad Keselowski would lead the start of stage two alongside Chase Elliott. Elliott would take the lead with 15 laps to go in stage two as Byron who was running in the fourth position would lose a bunch of track position after hitting the curb. Ross Chastain would go for a spin in the middle of the pack in front of a bunch of cars including Denny Hamlin, luckily no one was collected and the race stayed green. with inside 10 laps to go, Keselowski would spin coming onto the front stretch backing the car into the wall making heavy contact but no caution would wave. As pit stops would occur in the closing laps of the stage, Reddick would once again be the stage two winner.

Teammates Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott would restart on the front row for the final stage of the race. Cindric would once again thanks to contact from Kurt Busch on Lap 51 although the race would stay green. Pit stops would ensue shortly after as Hamlin and team try and play the long game by staying out as long as possible to ensure they would have the freshest tires as they lead with 26 laps to go. Larson would resume as the leader as pit stops cycled through. Caution would come out for debris on the track as it looks to be a piece of the curb breaking off with 10 laps to go. The race would restart with six laps to go as Hamlin and Kurt Busch would lead the field to the green flag with Chase Briscoe in third. Briscoe would make it three wide heading into turn one making Busch the odd man out as he would lose a ton of spots as Briscoe and Hamlin continue to battle.

Truex Jr would hit the curb in turn six losing grip and spinning off course as more pieces break off the curb. With 5 laps to go the big one would strike as multiple cars would spin and crash including Joey Logano hard into the tire barrier because the curbing would come up from the track surface derailing any car that had hit it. The red flag would be displayed as the cleanup crews work on towing away cars and taking the curb away.

Hamlin and Larson would lead the field to the overtime restart. Briscoe would take over second spot as Larson would lose multiple positions, but as the field starts to sort themselves out Allmendinger would now be in the hunt to battle for the lead as he takes over third from Matt Dibenedetto with two laps to go. Another multi car wreck would delay the finish as the curb issue continues as Michael McDowell, Austin Dillon, Tyler Reddick and more drivers get collected.

Hamlin and Briscoe would lead the restart in the second overtime opportunity. Allmendinger pushes the leaders three wide as Briscoe takes a short cut through the grass alluding to a race costing penalty. Briscoe would end up turning Hamlin coming to the white flag as the report of the penalty was not relayed to him in time to back off meaning AJ Allmendinger would assume the lead.

Briscoe would end up going off course to serve his penalty after he already spun Hamlin but it would be AJ Allmendinger who would survive a wild day at Indy and hold off Ryan Blaney and Kyle Larson to win at the Brickyard!

The Verizon 200 at the Brickyard top 5: 1. AJ Allmendinger

2. Ryan Blaney

3. Kyle Larson

4. Chase Elliott

5. Matt Dibenedetto


Honourable Mentions: 7. Erik Jones

8. Justin Haley

16. Corey Lajoie

18. Josh Bilicki


Written By: Matt Marr