Allmendinger’s life comes full circle with NASCAR and INDYCAR success at IMS
Although NASCAR and the NTT INDYCAR Series are not in competition on the 2.5-mile oval of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway later this monthinstead of running entirely On the IMS Road Course for Brickyard Weekend, AJ Allmendinger’s life comes full circle in the racing capital of the world.
The triple header Fto eat the NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series and NTT INDYCAR SERIES are an exciting weekend for motorsport fanswho are in reserve for A little bit of everythingg July 30-31.
But for Allmendinger, this event is culmination of his racing career. His professional career began in the INDYCAR SERIES from 2004-06and he won five Champion carWorld Events races. He won the first NASCAR Cup Series race at the IMS road course last year, the Verizon 200 at The Brickyard.
“It’s something that I feel motorsport as a whole needs,” Allmendinger said. the merger of NASCAR and INDYCAR at IMS. “Motorsport is a small community. We‘have Gotta push us all to do motorsport as a whole a much better and stronger and for the sponsors to be part of it. I don’t think there is any negative to that. I think everything is positive.
“For me, it’s fun to be (at IMS). I still have plenty of friends in the INDYCAR paddock to talk to at and see. I still love INDYCAR racing. I watch it every weekend, and I think it’s so competitive. It’s fun to see him in person.
Allmendinger now competes full-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and part-time in the NASCAR Cup Series for Kaulig Races. Always the master of the road course, Repairman has two Xfinity Series wins this season: at Circuit of the Americas and Portland International Raceway.
As Brickyard Weekend approaches, Allmendinger will arrive at merge his NASCAR friends, such as Kaulig Race Teammates Justin Haleyes, Daniel Hemric and Landon Cassillwith his INDYCAR friends with whom he always stays in touch, which includes Graham Rahal, Conor Daly, James Hinchcliffe and Michael Hock.
Plus, Allmendinger has a special bond with Roger Penske, and racing at a facility owned by the legendary NASCAR and INDYCAR team owner is special for the Los Gatos, Calif. native.
Allmendinger drove a partial season for Team Penske in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2012 until he was suspended for failing a drug test in the summer of that year. He was reinstated that fall by NASCAR, and Penske offered the driver a second chance in the form of six NTT INDYCAR SERIES races in 2013.
“The Dinger”, as many call him, turned out to be stellar at the Indianapolis 500qualifier fifth in the No. 2 IZOD Penske Chevrolet team. He ran in the lead group throughout the race, leading 23 laps. Given what the previous year had distributed Allmendinger, it was a special moment of redemption. It was so special that he lost concentration when he first took the lead.
“I remember just shaking my back right away, just thinking, ‘Oh my God, I’m leading the Indianapolis 500 –the is badass,” he said. “I almost lost my train of thought and had to pull myself together and calm down. But that’s how cool it was for me to lead the Indy 500.”
Allmendinger loOked ready to steal victory This year until his seat belts came off during the race in a rare and unexpected incident. Hhad to stop to refasten his seatbelts, wiping out any chance he had of drink it ceremonial bottle Milk. He finished seventh.
By usual in Indianapolis, the race itself was not the only memorable moment. The emotional pre-race ceremonies are also a moment that stands with Allmendinger to this day, but not because of the usual pomp and circumstance.
“Being part of Team Penske for the whole month, but more importantly that day, walking down Gasoline Alley next to Roger Penske before the race, that moment will always stick with me,” he said. “It was like walking with God, really. I was walking alongside Roger Penske and not only was I his pilot, but he was going to call my race. That will always stay with me.”
Allmendinger is not bitter that the 2013 race got away; he consider seventh–place end one of the best moments of his career. He thinks everything happens for a reason and he wasn’t supposed to win that day.
Maybe the reason to be men Indianapolis that May was to meet his future wife, Tara Allmendinger met her that month and convinced her to come to the race, whom she had never seen before. The impression lasted and the two got married in 2019.
Eomit 23 rounds and near victory wouldn’t be the last such a scenario at IMS for Allmendinger.
Since leaving the NASCAR Cup Series full-time after the 2018 season, Allmendinger has went to the NASCAR Xfinity series with Kaulig Races. He ran five races for the organization in 2019 and won at the Charlotte Racetrack roval.
After this victory, the team increased the beforeputting Allmendinger in the No. 16 car for 11 races in 2020, including the first-ever NASCAR Xfinity Series race onot the IMS road course. As a natural on the tough and twisty race tracks, Allmendinger was one of the favorites to win the race.
Llocked in a thrilling limit switch battle with Chase Briscoe and Austin Cindric, Allmendinger was lead with three laps to go. Jhe threesome memorably went three wide down the front stretch and into turn 1 with two turns remaining.
Once again, Allmendinger nearly missed out on a victory at the historic Speedway. But fast forward to 2021, and his lifelong dream has come true – he won the right to kiss the bricks at IMS.
In a wild and chaotic first NASCAR Cup Series Road racing race at the IMS, Allmendinger found himself in contention at the end of the Go. A pair of late-race restarts brought the peloton together on the 14-turn, 2.439-mile road courseand Allmendinger was in third square with only two laps to go.
Repairman watched Briscoe and Denny Hamlin fight for the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard when suddenly the chance to win the the race was his.
Briscoe had derailed and was penalized by NASCAR. Before serving his sentence, he made contact with Hamlin and sent the No. 11 driver spinning through the grass. Briscoe withdrew from his race to serve his sentence come to the white flagand Allmendinger became the leader.
“It’s amazing,” Allmendinger said. “Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined the way this just turned out. We just won at Indy. What’s happening!”
It was a nice way to top it offnot of the biggest racing events at IMS in 2021.
Coincidentally, Allmendinger and Shankwho owned the record car of Helio Castroneves who won in 2021, are close friends. Shank helped Allmendinger rejuvenate his career from his rock bottom by giving him a ride in his IMSA MeteoTechSports car Championship schedule. Repairman too won the Rolex 24 At Daytona for Shank in 2012.
“Hey ShankI I just wanted to be like you, baby,” Allmendinger told NBC Sports and the crowd.