Nearly a year after achieving an upset victory at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course in NASCAR’s premier series, AJ Allmendinger added another major achievement to his racing resume by winning the Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis in the NASCAR Xfinity Series on Saturday, July 30.
The 40-year-old Allmendinger from Los Gatos, California, led three times for a race-high 42 of 62 scheduled laps, including the final 18, as he rallied from a slow pit stop early in the event to cruise to his third Xfinity victory of the 2022 season and stabilize himself atop the drivers’ standings.
With on-track qualifying that determined the starting lineup occurring on Friday, AJ Allmendinger notched his second consecutive Xfinity Series pole position at Indianapolis after clocking in a pole-winning lap at 97.834 mph in 89.748 seconds. Joining him on the front row was Ty Gibbs, who clocked in his best lap at 97.732 mph in 89.842 seconds.
Prior to the event, names like Bayley Currey, Brandon Jones, Anthony Alfredo, Parker Kligerman, Brandon Brown, Kaz Grala and Austin Dillon dropped to the rear of the field due to unapproved adjustments made to their respective cars. Chase Briscoe and Miguel Paludo, who spun during Friday’s Xfinity practice session, also dropped to the rear of the field due to a tire change made to their respective cars.
During the pace laps, Briscoe and Jeb Burton pitted as their respective crew members popped the hoods of both cars open. In the midst of this, Burton took his No. 27 Our Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro to the garage due to a rear track bar issue as his event came to an end without taking the green flag.
When the green flag waved and the race started, Allmendinger and Gibbs dueled for the lead entering the first turn as Allmendinger managed to clear Gibbs and the field through Turns 1 to 3 to emerge out in front with a clear racetrack. Behind, Gibbs retained second while Riley Herbst and Noah Gragson battled for third in front of Alex Bowman, Sam Mayer and Justin Allgaier.
Through the 14-turn circuit and when the field returned to the frontstretch, Allmendinger led the first lap ahead of Gibbs, Herbst, Gragson and Bowman while Allgaier, Mayer, Josh Berry, Sage Karam and Landon Cassill occupied the top 10.
Following the second lap, Allmendinger stabilized his advantage to a second over Gibbs as Herbst stabilized himself in third. Behind, Gragson was under attack by Bowman for fourth place as Allgaier started to join the battle. By then, Alex Labbe emerged in the top 10 in ninth place while Bubba Wallace, piloting Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 DoorDash Toyota Supra, was in 11th.
Through the first five scheduled laps, Allmendinger was leading by nearly two seconds over Gibbs followed by Herbst, Bowman and Gragson while Allgaier, Mayer, Berry, Karam and Wallace were in the top 10. Rookie Sheldon Creed was in 11th followed by Landon Cassill, rookie Austin Hill, Ross Chastain and Daniel Hemric while Anthony Alfredo, Andy Lally. Ty Dillon, Preston Padres and Myatt Snider were in the top 20. Meanwhile, Labbe, who overshot Turn 12 while running in the top 10 a lap earlier, pitted after flat-spotting his tires along with Ryan Sieg while names like Chase Briscoe, Austin Dillon, Kaz Grala, Santino Ferrucci, Jeremy Clements, Brandon Jones and Miguel Paludo were in 21st, 23rd, 24th, 25th, 26th, 27th and 31st, respectively.
At the Lap 10 mark, Allmendinger extended his advantage in his No. 16 Nutrien Ag Solutions Chevrolet Camaro to more than two seconds over Gibbs’ No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota Supra while Bowman was up in third place as he trailed the leaders in his No. 17 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro by more than four seconds. Herbst and Allgaier were scored in the top five followed by Mayer while Gragson was back in seventh. Berry, Wallace and Karam filled in the final spots in the top 10 before Wallace made an unscheduled pit stop to address an overheating issue in his car.
Four laps later, the first caution flew when Parker Kligerman snapped loose entering Turn 7 and collided into Ryan Ellis as both wrecked and came to rest off the course. At the time of caution, Allmendinger stabilized his advantage to more than two seconds over Gibbs.
During the caution period, most of the field led by Allmendinger pitted while Gragson, Myatt Snider and Briscoe, who pitted prior to the caution being displayed, remained on the track. During the pit stops, Allmendinger fell all the way back to 14th due to issues while having his right-rear tire changed. In addition, Briscoe, who remained on the track after pitting earlier, was penalized for a commitment box violation.
With two laps remaining in the second stage, the race proceeded under green. At the start and with the field fanning out, Gragson pulled ahead of Snider through the first turn as he assumed full control with the lead while Bowman outlasted a side-by-side duel with Gibbs to move into third. In addition, Allgaier moved up to fourth through the straightaway between Turns 6 and 7 while Mayer made a bold move on both Monster Energy competitors of Herbst and Gibbs in Turn 7 in a bid for fifth before he backed out and Herbst prevailed.
When the first stage concluded on Lap 20, Gragson captured his eighth stage victory of the 2022 Xfinity season. Snider retained second followed by Bowman, Allgaier, Herbst, Gibbs, Berry, Creed, Allmendinger and Mayer.
Under the stage break, Gragson surrendered the lead to pit along with Snider, Landon Cassill and Briscoe while the rest led by Bowman remained on the track. Following the pit stops, Cassill was penalized for speeding on pit road.
The second stage started on Lap 24 as Bowman and Allgaier occupied the front row. At the start, Bowman emerged out in front, but Allgaier fought back entering the first turn. Behind, Gibbs got turned by Josh Berry and he spun in Turn 1 as the field scrambled and fanned out to avoid him. Back at the front, Allgaier emerged with the lead as the field continued to jostle for positions while making their way through the infield straightaway and the turns. Then entering Turn 8, Herbst spun while running towards the front following contact with Berry, but the race proceeded under green.
When the field returned to the frontstretch for Lap 25, Allgaier was leading Bowman while Allmendinger bolted his way into third place after overtaking Berry while Ross Chastain was in fifth. Behind, Anthony Alfredo, who was running in 11th, spun in Turn 1 as the field managed to avoid hitting Alfredo.
During the following lap, the caution returned due to a piece of debris spotted in Turn 1. Under caution, some like Herbst, Karam, Austin Dillon, Wallace and Ryan Sieg pitted while the rest led by Allgaier remained on the track. Prior to the restart, Gragson, who sustained damage to his front splitter, also pitted his No. 9 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet Camaro.
When the race restarted under green on Lap 28, Allmendinger, who restarted on the second row, made a bold three-wide move on Bowman and Allgaier exiting the frontstretch and entering the first turn as he reassumed the lead while the field made their way through the first three turns, Turns 4 and 5 and entering the straightaway between Turns 6 and 7.
By Lap 30, Allmendinger was out in front by eight-tenths of a second over Bowman followed by Allgaier, Berry and Chastain while Creed, Daniel Hemric, Kaz Grala, Mayer and Austin Hill were in the top 10. Miguel Paludo carved his way up to 11th followed by Andy Lally, Myatt Snider, Alex Labbe and Brandon Jones while Jeremy Clements, Ty Dillon, Brett Moffitt, Briscoe and Gibbs were in the top 20. Meanwhile, Herbst was in 23rd and Gragson was mired in 34th while Bubba Wallace, who sustained front-nose damage to his car while also encountering overheating issues, retired in the garage due to engine issues.
At the halfway mark on Lap 31, Allmendinger extended his advantage to more than a second over Bowman while Allgaier, Chastain and Berry remained in the top five.
Near the conclusion of the second stage, names like Hemric, Hill, Briscoe and Andy Lally pitted under green along with Allgaier, Chastain, Mayer, Gibbs, Herbst and Jeremy Clements. During the pit stops, Hemric was penalized for speeding on pit road while Gibbs, Clements and Lally were all penalized for commitment box violations.
Then on Lap 38, the leader Allmendinger pitted followed by Bowman, where Bowman managed to exit pit road in front of Allmendinger, as Berry, who had yet to pit, cycled to the lead.
When the second stage concluded on Lap 40, Berry notched his sixth stage victory of the season. Labbe settled in second followed by Kaz Grala, Sage Karam, Preston Pardus, Ty Dillon, Bayley Currey, Anthony Alfredo, Kyle Weatherman and Patrick Gallagher. By then, Bowman was back in 13th ahead of Allmendinger and Allgaier.
Under the stage break, some led by Berry pitted while the rest led by Bowman remained on the track.
With 18 laps remaining, the final stage started as Bowman and Allmendinger occupied the front row. At the start, Bowman and Allmendinger dueled for the lead as the field fanned out entering the first turn. Then through Turns 1 and 2, Allmendinger reassumed the lead ahead of Bowman while Sheldon Creed started to pressure Bowman for second followed by Allgaier. Behind the leaders, Paludo got turned as he spun in Turn 12, but the race proceeded under green.
During the following lap, Mayer got bumped by Cassill and went off the course in Turn 1 while Allgaier sustained left-front damage after making contact with Creed while entering the first turn. Then in Turn 13, Creed, who was running in the top five, got turned by Chastain as Allmendinger continued to lead by more than a second over Bowman.
With less than 15 laps remaining, Allmendinger extended his advantage to more than two seconds over Bowman while Allgaier was being pressured by Chastain as Briscoe was in the top five. Behind, Hill, the current Xfinity Series Rookie-of-the-Year leader, was in sixth ahead of Cassill, Herbst, Santino Ferrucci and Josh Berry.
Down to the final 10 laps of the event, Allmendinger continued to lead by more than three seconds over Bowman while Chastain, Briscoe and Allgaier occupied the top five.
With five laps remaining, Allmendinger stabilized his advantage to two-and-a-half seconds over Bowman followed by Chastain and Allgaier while Briscoe fell back to fifth. Meanwhile, Riley Herbst, who spun at the beginning of the second stage, carved his way back to sixth while Hill, Berry, Mayer and Gibbs, who rallied from his spin and pit road penalty in the second stage, were in the top 10. Gragson was in 11th followed by Cassill, Labbe, Sage Karam and Santino Ferrucci while Brandon Jones, Moffitt, Hemric, Anthony Alfredo and Ty Dillon were mired in the top 20.
When the white flag waved and the final lap started, Allmendinger remained as the leader by more than two seconds over Bowman while third-place Chastain trailed by more than 14 seconds. With no pressure mounting behind him and having a clear racetrack in front of him with a clean race car, Allmendinger smoothly navigated his way through the 14-turn circuit for a final time and cycled his way back to the frontstretch for his third checkered flag victory of the season.
With his third victory of the 2022 season, Allmendinger, who will attempt to sweep the weekend at the Brickyard after winning last year’s Cup Indy event, achieved his record-setting ninth Xfinity win on a road course event and his 13th career victory in his 80th start in the series. The victory was also the 17th overall in the Xfinity circuit for Kaulig Racing as Allmendinger became the fourth Xfinity regular to achieve three-plus victories this season.
“God, I love this place!” Allmendinger, whose last victory occurred at Portland International Raceway in June, said on NBC. “Indy, baby, let’s go! [I] Can’t thank everybody at Kaulig Racing, all the men and women. We’ve struggled. We’ve worked hard to get a little bit better. This Nutrien Ag Solutions Chevy was really good. I knew Bowman was really good on the long runs, so [I] tried to gap him as much as I could. God, I love Indy.”
“We win and lose as a team,” Allmendinger, who addressed his early slow pit stop, added. “I knew the way our car set up, in traffic, it’s not very good. We were having a little bit of brake issues as well. The [pit] guys recovered really well. I was just frustrated ‘cause I knew that we gave up stage points a little bit there as well to the guys we’re fighting in the points. At this point, points don’t mean a damn thing. We’re kissing the bricks. Hell yeah!”
Bowman finished in second place, trailing Allmendinger by more than two seconds, while Allgaier overtook and fended off Chastain to claim third place. Briscoe, who won the inaugural Xfinity Indy Road Course event, rounded out the top five in fifth.
“Yeah, just a little tight on the short run,” Bowman said. “[I] Thought I could get [Allmendinger] on the long run there and just kind of ran out of time. [I] Probably was a little too nice on the last restart. I knew he was gonna be better than us firing off, but yeah, ran out of time. Big thanks to everybody at Hendrick Motorsports, HendrickCars.com and Ally for letting me drive this [car] to try to help me for tomorrow. [I] Had a lot of fun. The race car was probably as fast as Xfinity Internet there at the end. We were definitely running [Allmendinger] down. Just not enough laps.”
Completing the top 10 were Herbst, Mayer, Gibbs, Hill and Gragson. Notably, Josh Berry finished 14th behind Sage Karam, Brandon Jones settled in 15th, Creed ended up 23rd behind Hemric and Paludo settled in 24th.
There were eight lead changes for six different leaders. The race featured four cautions for 11 laps.
With six races remaining in the 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series regular-season stretch, AJ Allmendinger continues to lead the regular-season standings by 17 points over Justin Allgaier, 30 over Ty Gibbs, 92 over Josh Berry and 95 over Noah Gragson.
Ty Gibbs, Noah Gragson, Justin Allgaier, AJ Allmendinger, Josh Berry, rookie Austin Hill and Brandon Jones are currently guaranteed spots for the 2022 Xfinity Playoffs based on winning once throughout the regular season stretch while Sam Mayer, Riley Herbst, Daniel Hemric, Landon Cassill and Ryan Sieg occupy the remaining vacant spots to the Playoffs based on points. Rookie Sheldon Creed trails the top-12 cutline to make the Playoffs by 50 points, Anthony Alfredo trails by 75, Brandon Brown trails by 83, Brett Moffitt trails by 88, Jeb Burton trails by 142, Jeremy Clements by 148 and Myatt Snider by 151.
1. AJ Allmendinger, 42 laps led
2. Alex Bowman, four laps led
3. Justin Allgaier, four laps led
4. Ross Chastain
5. Chase Briscoe
6. Riley Herbst
7. Sam Mayer
8. Ty Gibbs, one lap led
9. Austin Hill
10. Noah Gragson, six laps led, Stage 1 winner
11. Landon Cassill
12. Alex Labbe
13. Sage Karam
14. Josh Berry, five laps led, Stage 2 winner
15. Brandon Jones
16. Brett Moffitt
17. Santino Ferrucci
18. Anthony Alfredo
19. Jeremy Clements
20. Ty Dillon
21. Bayley Currey
22. Daniel Hemric
23. Sheldon Creed
24. Miguel Paludo
25. Andy Lally
26. Austin Dillon
27. Ryan Sieg
28. Patrick Gallagher
29. Preston Pardus
30. Kyle Weatherman
31. Scott Heckert
32. Kaz Grala, one lap down
33. Myatt Snider, one lap down
34. Brandon Brown – OUT, Suspension
35. Bubba Wallace – OUT, Engine
36. Ryan Ellis – OUT, Accident
37. Parker Kligerman – OUT, Accident
38. Jeb Burton – OUT, Trackbar
Next on the 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule is the series’ annual visit of the season at Michigan International Speedway, which will occur on Saturday, August 6, at 3:30 p.m. ET on USA Network.