AJ Allmendinger scores first NASCAR oval victory

AJ Allmendinger wins at Atlanta
Chris Graythen | Getty Images

A.J. Allmendinger made the most of other driver’s misfortunes to score the victory in Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Allmendinger inherited the lead when three of the fastest cars on the day – Chase Briscoe, Austin Cindric and Justin Allgaier – were all hit with speeding penalties on the final round of pit stops on the day.

Allmendinger powered to the lead on the final restart, and drove away from the competition en route to his fourth career series win.

It marks the first ever career win on an oval track for the 38-year-old, who can boast wins on road and street courses in various forms of motorsports – including a win in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in 2012.

"Oh my God, I won on an oval! You like that?" said Allmendinger after climbing from his car on the front stretch.

The win comes in Allmendinger’s first series start at Atlanta. He can boast 13 NASCAR Cup Series starts at the speedway, with a best finish of sixth coming for Richard Petty Motorsports back in 2010.

"It's Atlanta, so you're trying to figure out how much tire to use early," said Allmendinger. The car was awesome one long runs. The car was better than the driver early, too, especially. But once I got in the lead, just tried to hit my marks, which is hard to do."

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]The victory comes as Allmendinger is running a limited schedule for Kaulig Racing. He made his first start of the year last week at Bristol, where he recorded a 10th place finish.

"(I) can't thank everyone at Kaulig Racing, Leaf Filter gutter protection, just everybody that's associated with this team," Allmendinger said.

Noah Gragson followed in second, good enough to collect the $100,000 Xfinity "Dash 4 Cash" bonus.

"We fought a lot of adversity out there," said Gragson. "I drove through two many pit boxes on one of the pit stops and had to go to the back. But this Axalta, Echo Park team never gave up."

With about 38 laps to go, Chase Briscoe looked to have the win in hand. After chasing leader Austin Cindric through much of the race’s second segment, Briscoe’s crew got him off pit road first after the end of the segment.

Briscoe then managed to get away from Cindric, who appeared to have the dominant car through the first half of the race.

Briscoe held a healthy lead until a spin on lap 124 by Vinnie Miller brought out the final caution of the day, with the leaders hitting pit road for their final stops.

Briscoe’s team again got him off pit road first, with Justin Allgaier following in second and Allmendinger in third.

That’s when the wheels came off for the three strongest cars in the field, as Briscoe, Allgaier and Cindric were all slapped with pit road speeding penalties.

Allgaier would recover to finish in sixth, with Briscoe in ninth. Cindric was mired back in 16th position at the end of the day.

Meanwhile, Allmendinger quickly pulled away on the final restart, while Gragson moved to second. At one point, Gragson closed to within a second of the leader, but in the end, Allmendinger stretched his advantage out to almost two seconds before the end.

Justin Haley, who was hit with two pit road penalties on the day, finished in third, with Daniel Hemric in fourth and Harrison Burton in fifth.

Allgaier, Ross Chastain, Brandon Jones, Briscoe and Anthony Alfredo rounded out the top 10.

Allmendinger, Gragson, Haley and Hemric will try to score the big money is the next "Dash 4 Cash" $100,000 event, scheduled for Sunday, June 14 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

RACE RESULTS

Finish Start # Driver Sponsor/Make Laps Led Points Status
1 30 16 AJ Allmendinger C2 Freight Resources Chevrolet 163 37 48 Running
2 1 9 Noah Gragson Axalta/EchoPark Automotive Chevrolet 163 6 45 Running
3 4 11 Justin Haley LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet 163 8 46 Running
4 2 8 Daniel Hemric Poppy Bank Chevrolet 163 0 46 Running
5 5 20 Harrison Burton # Hunt Brothers Pizza/DEX Imaging Toyota 163 0 34 Running
6 3 7 Justin Allgaier BRANDT Chevrolet 163 1 41 Running
7 11 10 Ross Chastain Nutrien Ag Solutions Chevrolet 163 0 47 Running
8 12 19 Brandon Jones Toyota Service Centers Toyota 163 0 29 Running
9 9 98 Chase Briscoe HighPoint.com Ford 163 40 40 Running
10 24 21 Anthony Alfredo Death Wish Coffee Chevrolet 163 0 27 Running
11 21 1 Michael Annett Flexfit 110 Chevrolet 163 3 28 Running
12 10 68 Brandon Brown Jabs Construction Chevrolet 163 0 25 Running
13 20 51 Jeremy Clements All South Electric Chevrolet 163 0 24 Running
14 13 2 Brett Moffitt(i) FR8Auctions Chevrolet 163 0 0 Running
15 34 15 Colby Howard SANY America Chevrolet 163 0 22 Running
16 8 22 Austin Cindric Menards/Tuscany Faucets Ford 163 68 41 Running
17 6 18 Riley Herbst # Monster Energy Toyota 163 0 24 Running
18 31 74 Bayley Currey(i) Mutt and Jeff Porkskins Inc. Chevrolet 163 0 0 Running
19 32 36 Ronnie Bassett Jr RacingHeroCards/StickyStuff Chevrolet 162 0 18 Running
20 14 4 Jesse Little # Tufco Flooring Chevrolet 162 0 17 Running
21 16 0 Jeffrey Earnhardt Chevrolet 162 0 16 Running
22 33 44 Tommy Joe Martins Gilreath Farms Chevrolet 162 0 15 Running
23 25 99 Mason Massey Gerber Collision & Glass Toyota 162 0 14 Running
24 22 7 Garrett Smithley Matt Laughridge for Congress Chevrolet 162 0 13 Running
25 17 6 BJ McLeod JD Motorsports Chevrolet 162 0 12 Running
26 27 8 Joe Graf Jr. # CORE Development Group Chevrolet 162 0 11 Running
27 15 90 Alex Labbe Larue Snowblowers Chevrolet 162 0 10 Running
28 23 92 Josh Williams Coolray Heating & AC Chevrolet 162 0 9 Running
29 35 93 Myatt Snider Louisiana Hot Sauce Chevrolet 161 0 8 Running
30 26 5 Matt Mills J.F. Electric Chevrolet 161 0 7 Running
31 19 78 Vinnie Miller Koolbox Chevrolet 156 0 6 Running
32 28 47 Joe Nemechek(i) Patriots of America PAC Chevrolet 129 0 0 Suspension
33 29 61 Timmy Hill(i) RoofClaim.com Toyota 87 0 0 Alternator
34 18 13 Chad Finchum SMITHBILT HOMES Toyota 50 0 3 Suspension
35 7 39 Ryan Sieg CMRRoofing.com Chevrolet 47 0 2 Engine
36 37 66 Stephen Leicht CrashClaimsR.us Toyota 8 0 1 Clutch

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