AJ Allmendinger continued his dominance of NASCAR road course racing and prepared for a sweep at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a victory on Saturday in the Xfinity Series.
Although AJ Allmendinger has yet to clinch a championship, the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs are still six races away. The driver of the No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet officially established himself as the King of the Road after winning the Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard on Saturday.
At the 2.439-mile, 14-turn Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course, Allmendinger was a powerful force that could not be stopped. He overcame a risky pit stop that dropped him from the lead to 13th for a restart on lap 19 and led 42 of the 62 laps.
God I love this place!” Allmendinger screamed to the crowd. “Indy, baby! Let’s go!”
“God, I love this place, I knew Bowman was really good at the long runs, and so I tried to gap him as much as I could. God, I love Indy!”
The triumph marked Allmendinger’s third of the year all on road courses and his fourth in the previous five Xfinity Series contests on circuits with right- and left-hand turns, going back to his triumph in the fall race at the Charlotte Roval the previous year.
Allmendinger overtook Alex Bowman for second place following a restart on lap 45. He maintained a close following of Bowman’s No. 17 Chevrolet into Turn 1 before pushing away through Turn 2. The Hendrick Motorsports driver trailed Allmendinger by 2.084 seconds as they crossed the finish line.
Inability to change the right rear tire during the pit stop on lap 16 cost Allmendinger track position, but the 40-year-old driver battled through traffic to move up to third for the restart on lap 29.
On restart, he raced three wide to the inside and was in the lead as he came out of Turn 1.
“We gave up stage points a little bit there as well, to the guys we’re fighting for points,” Allmendinger said. “But you know what? Points don’t mean a…thing—we’re kissing the bricks.”
Bowman began to cut into Allmendinger’s lead late in the final 18-lap run green-flag run but ran out of time.
“I probably was a little too nice on that last restart,” said Bowman, who was running his first Xfinity Series race since 2018. “I knew he was going to be better than us firing off. At the end, we were definitely running him down just not enough laps.”
Ross Chastain was in fourth place when Justin Allgaier overtook him on the penultimate lap to take third as Chase Briscoe finished fifth. Riley Herbst, Sam Mayer, Ty Gibbs, Austin Hill, and Noah Gragson rounded out the top ten.
Josh Berry, another JR Motorsports driver, won Stage 2 after Gragson won the opening stage.