In the inaugural NASCAR Xfinity Series race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Grand Prix Circuit, Kaulig Racing came into the famed racetrack’s new road course layout with three opportunities to walk away with a trophy as A.J. Allmendinger returned to the team’s roster and competed alongside teammates Ross Chastain and Justin Haley. In the closing laps, Haley and Allmendinger were in striking distance of the win, only to end up in the top five while Chastain concluded his race in the top 10.
Based on a random draw, Chastain started ninth and Haley started 11th while Allmendinger was back in 30th in the starting grid. When the green flag waved, Chastain and Haley settled in the top five while Allmendinger, who was the fastest in the first of two practice sessions on Friday, utilized his road-course skills to methodically work his way to the front. By the fifth lap, he was up to 16th. As the first stage progressed to its final laps, Chastain and Haley continued running within the top five while Allmendinger cracked the top 10. With three laps remaining in the first stage, Allmendinger was one of three competitors who pitted at the time the caution fell due to debris. Early disaster, however, struck when he was caught speeding on pit road and was sent to the rear of the field. With the first stage concluding under caution, Haley finished third and Chastain was in sixth while Allmendinger was scored back in 12th.
Following pit stops for air pressure adjustments, Chastain and Haley were in the top 10 and Allmendinger was scored in 16th for the start of the second stage. Throughout the stage, Allmendinger worked his way back into the top 10 with Haley and Chastain still racing within the top 10 despite encountering handling issues. Following a late caution when Joe Gibbs Racing’s Brandon Jones’ car went up in smoke and flames, all three Kaulig cars pitted for adjustments to their respective Chevrolets. In a two-lap dash to conclude the stage, Haley was able to work his way to finish fourth while Allmendinger finished 11th, just missing the top-10 mark. Chastain fell back to 16th while Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe won the stage.
When the final stage commenced with 20 laps remaining, Haley and Allmendinger were in the top six while Chastain was back in 14th. Five laps later, Allmendinger moved inside the top three as he started to engage in a battle for the lead with Briscoe and Team Penske’s Austin Cindric. The caution returned with approximately 10 laps remaining due to debris from Tommy Joe Martins, and all three Kaulig cars pitted. With the race restarting with seven laps remaining, the battle for the lead intensified as Allmendinger quickly worked his way to second behind Briscoe. Four laps later, Briscoe slipped in Turn 10 and Allmendinger emerged with the lead, though he was pressured by Cindric. Entering the frontstretch two laps later, Allmendinger was bumped and was placed in a three-wide battle with Cindric and Briscoe. In Turn 1, Allmendinger was passed and forced off the track by Briscoe through Turns 1 and 2 as he lost the lead and was left in a tight battle with Cindric for second. Following contact between Cindric and Allmendinger through Turns 5 and 6 and a slip in Turn 7 for Allmendinger, Haley and JR Motorsports’ Noah Gragson overtook both and left Allmendinger back in fourth. When the final lap started, Gragson slipped in Turn 1, which allowed Haley to move into second. Despite his late rally, Haley was unable to gain a final lap charge to Briscoe as he crossed the line in the runner-up spot. Behind, Allmendinger settled in fourth following his late battle with Cindric while Chastain came back to finish sixth.
The results marked the fourth time in 2020 where three Kaulig Racing competitors finished in the top 10. For Haley, this marked his fifth top-five finish of this season, the ninth of his career and his best result on a road course and at his hometrack. For Allmendinger, this marked his third top-five result of this season, his fifth driving for Kaulig Racing and his career best at Indianapolis. For Chastain, his sixth-place result marked his 11th top-10 result of this season, sixth in the last six weeks and his career best at Indianapolis. The result left Chastain settled in third in the standings, trailing points leader and this year’s Indianapolis winner Briscoe by 55 points, while he continues to pursue his first victory of the season.
Haley and Chastain will represent Kaulig Racing in the upcoming NASCAR Xfinity Series’ doubleheader races at Kentucky Speedway on July 9 and 10, both of which will air at 8 p.m. ET on FS1.