The winner of Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race picked up the pieces after multiple cars were torn to bits by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
AJ Allmendinger benefited from two violent wrecks and a spinout in the closing laps to win the Verizon 200 at The Brickyard on Sunday. Almendinger took the lead in double overtime from Denny Hamlin after Hamlin was pushed out of the top spot by Chase Briscoe, who moments earlier was penalized by NASCAR for cutting through the grass after sliding off the course.
The first Cup race on Indy’s road course turned into a wreckfest, with the curbing in Turns 5 and 6 the main culprit. Cars had difficulty navigating it and both late pileups started there. Allmendinger weaved through the wreckage both times and kept his car clean for the finish.
Below is more about Allmendinger’s win Sunday, plus the complete results of the race.
Who won the NASCAR race yesterday?
NASCAR veteran AJ Allmendinger captured the Verizon 200 at The Brickyard. The 39-year-old driver won for the second time in 375 Cup starts; his first victory came in 2014 at Watkins Glen. Allmendinger was a full-time Cup driver as recently as 2018 but is now an Xfinity Series regular. Sunday was his fourth Cup start of 2021, all for Kaulig Racing and all on road courses.
Allmendinger qualified eighth for the race but was mid-pack when the first wreck occurred on Lap 78 of the scheduled 82-lap race.
His position improved with the atttrition, and he moved up more spots after the second pileup, which took place in the first OT and again in the 5/6 area.
“Once that chaos started happening, we started getting closer to the front,” Allmendinger said in his postrace press conference. “I had a really good restart on the first one. I think we were restarting 17th with eight to go and was able to get to seventh through all that mess and thought, ‘All right, now we’re at least in shouting distance of it.’ Knew a couple of the cars had older tires.
“That second restart, got to third and it’s like, ‘OK, now we’ve got a shot at this.'”
Allmendinger had a clear path to victory after Briscoe spun Hamlin out of the lead. Briscoe said he didn’t know he had already been penalized when he punted Hamlin off the course. Briscoe thought he was still racing for his first career win. Hamlin was racing for his first win of the season.
NASCAR results from Indianapolis
AJ Allmendinger drove to victory in the Verizon 200 at The Brickyard, the first NASCAR Cup Series race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. Ryan Blaney survived the wrecks for a second-place finish. Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott and Matt DiBenedetto rounded out the top five.
The result had a big effect on the NASCAR Cup playoff race. Allmendinger isn’t eligible for the playoffs because he runs full time in the Xfinity Series, so the number of winning Cup drivers this year remains at 13. That means the series will have a maximum of 15 Cup drivers with at least one win. In turn, that means Hamlin clinched a playoff berth Sunday. He can make the playoffs on points alone; he has a 198-point lead on the next-closest bubble driver, Kevin Harvick. Hamlin has now made NASCAR’s playoffs 15 times.
Previous race winners Michael McDowell and Aric Almirola also clinched playoff berths Sunday with Allmendinger winning.
Hamlin is still competing for the Cup Series regular-season point championship, which also yields a playoff berth. He fell out of a tie with Kyle Larson with his 23rd-place finish Sunday. Larson leads Hamlin by 22 points with two regular-season races remaining.
The last two playoff berths will be sorted out in those two races. Harvick and Tyler Reddick hold the spots heading into the Aug. 22 race at Michigan International Speedway (3 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, MRN). The regular-season finale is Aug. 28 at Daytona International Speedway.
|11||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.|
|15||Martin Truex Jr.|