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A.J. Allmendinger wins wild NASCAR Cup Series race on Indy road course

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INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – A.J. Allmendinger survived a wild NASCAR overtime to win Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Verizon 200 on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Allmendinger held off Ryan Blaney and Kyle Larson to pick up Kaulig Racing’s first victory in the Cup Series.

“That was an insane race,” said Allmendinger. “We were 17th with nine, eight to go, and I was like, all right, maybe we get a top 10, and luckily we’ve got a team owner that says trophy hunting. He doesn’t care if the car is wrecked, bring it back on the wrecker or you go win the race.”

Denny Hamlin and Chase Briscoe were out front on the final restart and raced each other hard into the first turn, a right hander off the front stretch into the infield.  Hamlin squeezed Briscoe into the grass but Briscoe never lifted and drove through it only to come back out onto the track fighting for the lead.  That’s when NASCAR penalized him for advancing his position, only Briscoe didn’t hear it over his radio and later in the lap spun Hamlin out.

“I knew Denny was on old tires, and I didn’t know if Chase was on older tires or not,” explained Allmendinger. “I was trying to be aggressive. In my mind if I could somehow clear them and get them racing, I can drive away because I have better tires than they do. They told me the 14 had a penalty, and then I guess he got in the back of Denny and the seas parted at that point, and then it was like, run like hell because the 12 and everybody else, Kyle Larson is behind us.”

Allmendinger did run like hell all the way across the yard of bricks to score a popular win at the Brickyard.

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Blaney survived the craziness to bring home his No. 12 Ford Mustang home in second place.

“We weren’t great all day,” said Blaney.  “Found ourselves sitting there fifth on the last restart and had a shot to win the race and just couldn’t quite get to the 16 at the end there. He was a little bit better than me. But man, that stings even more to run second here, especially trying to win for Roger and trying to make it a perfect weekend for Penske. But just survived the carnage.”

Hendrick Motorsports Kyle Larson led the most laps of the day but elected to pit for tires late while Hamlin and Briscoe elected to stay out for track position.

Larson’s teammate Chase Elliott finished fourth after rallying from a poor pit stop when the No. 9 Hooters Chevrolet fell off the jack.

With two races remaining to set the 16-driver Playoff field, the NASCAR Cup Series races returns to the big oval next in the FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

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NASCAR

Ryan Blaney wins NASCAR All-Star race at Texas

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Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

FORT WORTH, TX (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Ryan Blaney held off Denny Hamlin to win Sunday’s NASCAR All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway.  The victory was Blaney’s first in the event and Team Penske’s fourth.

Blaney won the event’s third stage guaranteeing him a front row starting spot for the final stage.  Blaney got a huge push from teammate Austin Cindric and powered to the victory.

“This Mustang was a rocketship,” said Blaney. “I am really glad we ended up winning that after that last caution. I am so proud of everybody. Tonight will be fun.”

“Really happy for Ryan (Blaney) and the No. 12 team,” said Cindric. “They had the fastest car all night and if I wasn’t going to win it, I was committed to helping him. I lined up behind him on that last restart and gave him the best push possible.”

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Hamlin was upset after the race that NASCAR extended the final caution to accommodate Blaney, who dropped his window net when he thought the race was over when in fact the caution light came on before he crossed the start/finish line.

“It’s tough because he deserved to win the race, but if you mess up and you break a rule – not intentionally, but there’s rules and we have rules in place for safety,” said Hamlin. “My crew chief is taking four weeks off (a penalty from a pit-road infraction earlier in the season) because of safety.”

“I already took my window net down and everything,” explained Blaney. “My left arm is worn out from trying to get that damn thing back up. I got it rigged up enough to where it halfway stayed. I appreciate NASCAR for not making us come down pit road to fix it and letting me get it clipped back again to where we could stay out there.”

Next up for the NASCAR Cup Series is the Coca-Cola 600 next Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

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Racing Notebook: Logano on Darlington pole; Allgaier wins Xfinity race and more

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Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images

DARLINGTON, SC (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – It’s NASCAR ‘throwback’ weekend in Darlington, South Carolina where all three series are on the track this weekend.

Logano Take Cup Series Pole:

  • Team Penske’s Joey Logano is on the pole position for Sunday’s 3rd Annual Goodyear 400.  Logano’s fast lap of 28.805-seconds (170.720 mph) was .082-seconds quicker than Hendrick Motorsports Kyle Larson’s 28.887.  Hendrick’s Chase Elliott, Stewart Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick and B.J. McCloud did not make qualifying attempts after separate issues in practice. The green flag drops at 3:30 p.m. on FS1. Darlington Cup Lineup
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Allgaier Wins Xfinity Race:

  • Justin Allgaier beat JR Motorsports Noah Gragson by .259-seconds to win Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Mahindra ROXOR 200 at Darlington Raceway. In a 2-lap shootout following a caution flag, Allgaier quickly dispatched A.J. Allmendinger – who was on 16-lap older tires and drove away with Gragson in tow.  JRM drivers now have won three straight races in the series. Darlington Xfinity Results

Nemechek Wins Truck Series Race:

  • John Hunter Nemechek beat Carson Hocevar by .552-seconds in overtime to win Friday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Dead On Tools 200 at Darlington Raceway.  Wexford native Kris Wright finished 32nd after starting 21st in the No. 44 VFW Chevrolet thanks to an accident. Darlington Truck Series Results
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McGriff, Shelmerdine and Kenseth elected to NASCAR Hall of Fame

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Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images

DAYTONA BEACH, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Herschel McGriff, Kirk Shelmerdine and Matt Kenseth have been elected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2023.  Mike Helton was also named the recipient of the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR.

McGriff’s first race was the 1950 Southern 500, in the NASCAR Cup Series’ sophomore season, at the age of 22. His final NASCAR race was at Tucson Speedway in the NASCAR Pro Series West – in 2018 at the age of 90. McGriff started 85 races in parts of 28 NASCAR Cup Series seasons, capturing four wins – all in 1954, when he finished sixth in championship points.

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Shelmerdine won four total Cup Series championships with Earnhardt (1986, ’87, ’90, ’91). Over his 16-year crew chief career with Earnhardt, Rudd, James Hylton and Richard Childress, he won 46 races and posted top-10 finishes in more than half his starts.

Kenseth, the 2003 Cup Series Champion, scored 39 Cup wins, which tie for 21st on the all-time list and include two Daytona 500s, the Southern 500, Coca-Cola 600 and the All-Star Race.

The Class of 2023 Induction Ceremony is set for Friday, Jan. 20, 2023 at the NASCAR Hall of Fame and Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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