SPEEDWAY, Ind. — AJ Allmendinger picked up right where he left off in Indianapolis — the winner’s circle. After winning last year’s NASCAR Cup Series race in dramatic fashion, Allmendinger led 42 laps and dominated his way to an Xfinity Series win at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course.
Allmendinger notched his third victory of the season — all on road courses — and padded his regular-season points lead.
“Any time you win at Indy is a big deal,” Allmendinger said in a post-race media conference. “This place is special. I love this race track… We deserved to come out here and win this race.”
Allmendinger set the quickest time in Friday’s qualifying session and led the field to green alongside Ty Gibbs on Saturday. He led the first 15 laps before a long stop under caution dropped him 14 spots on pit road. Noah Gragson won the stage.
However, Allmendinger wasted no time getting back in the mix. He took back the lead on Lap 29 and held it before short-pitting the end of Stage 2. Josh Berry stayed out on scuffed tires to secure the stage victory.
After the pit cycle, Alex Bowman, who drove the No. 17 car for Hendrick Motorsports, had the lead to start Stage 3. He held it for just a corner before Allmendinger took it away on the exit of Turn 1.
Allmendinger pulled two seconds ahead of Bowman but couldn’t fully lose him. The final stage stayed green in its entirety and Allmendinger glided across the yard of bricks for his second Indianapolis victory.
“We had a really good car,” Allmendinger said. “Bad first pit stop, but the guys rebounded on the last two and did a really good job. Just kind of had to pace myself. We had a lot of outright speed.”
Bowman finished second in his only scheduled Xfinity start of the season. The 29-year-old from Tucson, Arizona wanted more seat time on road courses to better himself for Cup Series competition. He’s also made a pair of Truck Series road course starts for Spire Motorsports.
“Just a little tight on the short run and thought I could get him on the long run,” Bowman told NBC. “We were definitely running him down, just not enough laps.
“We obviously struggled really badly today in the Cup car. Maybe I learned some things that will help tomorrow.”
Justin Allgaier finished third to record his fourth consecutive top-10 finish. He passed Ross Chastain, the No. 92 car for DGM Racing, for the position just before the checkered flag.
Chastain secured just the second top-five finish in the history of DGM by crossing the line fourth.
“It was all I had there. I was running with everything I had,” Chastain told NBC. “It’s incredible to be up there racing with those guys.”
STAGE 1: Noah Gragson, Myatt Snider, Alex Bowman, Justin Allgaier, Riley Herbst, Ty Gibbs, Josh Berry, Sheldon Creed, AJ Allmendinger, Sam Mayer
STAGE 2: Josh Berry, Alex Labbe, Kaz Grala, Sage Karam, Preston Pardus, Ty Dillon, Bayley Currey, Anthony Alfredo, Kyle Weatherman, Patrick Gallagher
FINAL: AJ Allmendinger, Alex Bowman, Justin Allgaier, Ross Chastain, Chase Briscoe, Riley Herbst, Sam Mayer, Ty Gibbs, Austin Hill, Noah Gragson
The Xfinity Series travels to Michigan International Speedway for the New Holland 250 on Saturday, August 6. The race is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET on USA Network. Allmendinger is the defending winner.