SPEEDWAY, Ind. – Reigning NASCAR Cup Series winner at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course AJ Allmendinger had a shot to win again on Sunday (July 31). Instead, the chaotic finish, coupled with his cooling shirt failing to work, left him with a trip to the infield care center instead and a seventh-place result.
“It was hot from the start of the race. The problem was by the time we figured it out, I still had the cooling shirt on,” Allmendinger said. “It just made it even hotter in the car. I was doing OK. With 20 to go, I ran out of water. The helmet blower started to feel hot as well. Just riding around under yellow makes it worse. During green, I could be OK. [But] when you get heat soaked into the car under yellow, those last few laps were pretty brutal.”
There were two caution flag periods with less than 10 laps to go in the Verizon 200, adding to the 40-year-old’s overall malaise. Upon climbing out of the car, Allmendinger collapsed.
It was a tough end to his quest for back-to-back Indianapolis victories. Still, ever the competitor, Allmendinger was grateful to have a shot at the win. He sat second on the final restart, though he knew craziness was coming.
“Once you get green, you suck it up and we had a shot to win the race and that’s all that mattered,” he said. “The way turn 1 is here, if you’re on the outside front [row] on one of those late race restarts, you’re just going to get run into. We saw it with Chase [Elliott] the start before and we saw it with Chase Briscoe last year.
“You just get shoved off the racetrack. I figured I was going to get shoved off the racetrack into [turn] 1 and make the best of it and felt like we did. At the end of the day, we gave ourselves a shot to win two in a row and that’s pretty badass.”
On Saturday, Allmendinger won the NASCAR Xfinity Series event at the Indy road course, giving him a chance to sweep this race weekend. Allmendinger didn’t suffer from dehydration nor other issues in Xfinity post-race as he joyously celebrated.
Despite Sunday’s dehydration, Allmendinger left the Brickyard feeling better both physically and mentally.
— Tara Allmendinger (@_TaraLea) July 31, 2022
About the author
Mark Kristl joined Frontstretch at the beginning of the 2019 NASCAR season. He is the site's ARCA Menards Series editor. Kristl is also an Eagle Scout and a proud University of Dayton alum.