“It’s a group effort, a group effort!” AJ Allmendinger said as he headed for another road win Saturday, July 30 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Victories over Allmendinger and on the road courses have become somewhat of a given in the later years of the NASCAR Xfinity Series, and the ‘Dinger has added to that fame, leading 42 of 62 laps in the Pennzoil 150. Noah Gragson and Josh Berry won stage one and two, respectively, and Alex Bowman, Justin Allgaier, Ross Chastain and Chase Briscoe rounded out the top five as many NASCAR Cup Series drivers sought to earn some much-needed track time before the race. ‘today.
While it was a dominating performance for Allmendinger, some others had a much tougher day in the office, despite some high finishes.
Usually I try to leave the winner of this list for obvious reasons, but I just couldn’t after that performance. Not entirely because of what General Notices did, however, but what he opened the door to doing on Sunday.
Allmendinger won last year’s Cup Series race at The Brickyard, and now, with his third Xfinity win of the season (all on road courses, by the way), “Dinger has a chance to sweep all weekend- end for Kaulig Racing. Last year’s victory was Kaulig’s only Cup Series victory last season, and if he can do it again, Allmendinger can write himself even further in the young team’s history books.
— Kaulig Racing (@KauligRacing) July 31, 2022
With such a dominating performance, it’s hard to find anyone else who really won the day, but there’s always a silver lining somewhere, isn’t there? That silver lining was that while they might not have ended up where they wanted, the JR Motorsports boys make their presence known. Gragson and Berry took two stage wins and all four riders fought their way into the top 15.
Ross Chestnut, straight out of the tear. If you’ve been following the Cup Series this season, you should know that Chastain’s antics have made him public enemy number one for many in the garage. Several riders have expressed their displeasure with the way he has raced people this season, and for the most part I agree with them.
This, apparently, is not limited to the Cup Series either. Sheldon Creed, a driver we’ve talked about a lot this season, was running in fourth, trying to carve out a playoff spot, when Chastain came into contact with him. Needless to say, the radio feed wasn’t exactly family-friendly following the incident. Chastain continues to make friends, doesn’t he?
After the race, Front stretchDaniel McFadin of Daniel McFadin caught up with Chastain to ask about the incident.
“I would ride it way better than I would ride other people,” Chastain said. Do with this quote what you want.
Lap 25 was certainly interesting as the two Monster Energy sponsored cars decided to find a way to head in the wrong direction just moments apart. Ty Gibbs spun in turn 1, and Riley Autumn quickly followed in the next slalom. Both were running at the front of the pack at the time of their crashes, neither of which resulted in a warning. However, they both finished in the top 10 at the end of the day, with Herbst crossing the line in sixth and Gibbs in eighth.
To quote the great lyricist and musician Beyonce, “I’ve got hot sauce in my bag, swag.”
– Jordan Anderson Racing and Bommarito Autosport (@JARnascar) July 30, 2022
Not only is Louisiana hot sauce delicious, it apparently lends itself to a great color palette when it comes to designing paint schemes. Yellow and red will always make a car pop no matter how you use them. However, when you use them in flames, it makes it even better. Hats off to whoever made this design; it’s in my top five of the season.
The playoff pit
Again, absolutely nothing has changed in terms of winners with Allmendinger adding his third of the season, and with just six races to go before the cut, time is running out for the drivers to lock in a win. Gragson, Allgaier, Gibbs, Berry, Brandon Jones and Austin Hill currently join Allmendinger on the wins. That leaves five places up for grabs in terms of points if the season ended today. You can follow the points standings here.
fuel for thought
The idea has been around a lot to bring racing back to the oval at the Brickyard, and people can talk about it all they want. However, I choose to take a different path.
The soon-to-be-renamed Camping World Truck Series raced at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park, and I’d be damned if it wasn’t one of the best races I’ve seen all year. Not only was it a good race, but the place was absolutely packed – something that rarely happens in the Truck series (or Xfinity for that matter), if we’re being honest.
Just wow. ❤️
Welcome to all. It was great. 😇
📸Wayne Riegle pic.twitter.com/Nl7Pl33O6Y
— Lucas Oil Indianapolis Race Park (@RaceIRP) July 30, 2022
This race got me thinking, “why couldn’t Xfinity be able to race there AND the Brickyard in the same year?” Yes. I understand they are a stone’s throw from each other, but the fans in the area eat the sport. They would kill for multiple events each year, at least on the Xfinity side. They wouldn’t even need to be back to back as the tracks are basically right in the middle of the country.
You would have a short track race for half the season at IRP and then another superspeedway or road course at IMS. It would be a good replacement for any of the less frequented 1.5 cookie cutter milers, that’s for sure.
Where to go next?
Next up is the New Holland 250 at Michigan International Speedway. Allmendinger also won that race last season in triple overtime. Now, however, with the playoff window closing, fans can expect the drivers who need a win to come out strong. This race begins Saturday, August 6 at 3:30 p.m. ET and can be found on USA Network, the Motor Racing Network and Sirius XM NASCAR.
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