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AJ Allmendinger successfully navigated the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course on Sunday to win the wild Verizon 200 at the Brickyard.
The NASCAR Cup Series passed on the historic oval at this track to make its first appearance on the 14-turn road course. This had a major impact, as multiple crashes in the closing laps changed the outlook of the race.
The No. 16 car outlasted the competition, earning the checkered flag in overtime ahead of Ryan Blaney in second place.
It’s the first Cup series win of the year for Allmendinger, who has spent most of the year competing in the Xfinity Series.
1. AJ Allmendinger (16)
2. Ryan Blaney (12)
3. Kyle Larson (5)
4. Chase Elliott (9)
5. Matt DiBenedetto (21)
6. Kurt Busch (1)
7. Erik Jones (43)
8. Justin Haley (77)
9. Austin Cindric (33)
10. Ryan Newman (6)
Full results available at NASCAR.com
It was a race with plenty of lead changes and cautions, although nothing had a bigger impact than a pileup with four laps remaining:
Joey Logano, pole-winner William Byron and Daniel Suarez were among those who couldn’t finish the race after the crash. Another crash after the restart took out Austin Dillon and Michael McDowell, among others.
It appeared to set up Denny Hamlin for an overtime win, but the drama continued as the No. 11 car spun out while leading with two laps remaining:
NASCAR on NBC @NASCARonNBC
CHASE BRISCOE TAKES OUT DENNY HAMLIN! pic.twitter.com/lZOC4e7LOh
Chase Briscoe was also penalized for cutting the track, leaving Allmendinger to pull away for the surprising win:
Kyle Larson ran near the front much of the day but ended in third place. Hamlin managed a 23rd-place finish.
The road course offered significant challenges throughout the day, with several big names facing plenty of setbacks:
Those in front of the pack also had to adjust to the road course and work harder to pass.
Larson built more than a four-second lead that seemed insurmountable until a caution with 10 laps left created a wide-open finish. The red flag with four laps left created a shootout that went into overtime.
Allmendinger emerged as the victor despite rarely having the fastest car.
Tyler Reddick also had a solid day even though he finished in 21st, earning wins in both Stage 1 and Stage 2.
The No. 8 car entered the day in the final playoff spot and looked to add key points with a focus on the two stages.
Kelly Crandall @KellyCrandall
Tyler Reddick takes the lead from Michael McDowell and in position to win the stage. The 8 team has done very well in recent weeks of grabbing points to fend off their teammate in the bubble fight #NASCAR
Tyler Reddick is the leader again by virtue of staying out. Teammate Austin Dillon runs second — Those two are battling for the last playoff spot on points. #Verizon200
In both cases, Reddick chose not to pit until after he earned the stage wins and playoff points.
There are now only two more races remaining before the start of the playoffs. The drivers will be at Michigan International Speedway for the FireKeepers Casino 400 on Sunday, followed by a trip to Daytona on Aug. 28.