AJ Allmendinger Wins Wreck-Filled Nationwide Race At Road America
Second chances don't come often, but when they do, you must capitalize.
That's exactly what AJ Allmendinger did in Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Road America.
Allmendinger moved past Justin Allgaier with seven laps to go in regulation, and managed to survive two hectic green-white-checkered restarts to capture his first career NASCAR victory.
"It's just meant the world to me," Allmendinger said. "This was the only way I could repay (Roger Penske). I was trying so hard out there -- and, at times, probably over-trying."
Allgaier held on to finish second followed by Parker Kligerman, Owen Kelly and Sam Hornish Jr. Points leader Regan Smith finished 32nd and now leads the championship standings by 28 points over Allgaier.
Allmendinger was suspended from NASCAR last year for testing positive for a stimulant. However, Penske Racing decided to stand behind their young star and it has clearly paid off.
"He's got so much going on in his life," Allmendinger said of Penske. "But he just kept checking up on me. I didn't expect anything from it. It was just nice to have a friend, somebody that I could bounce ideas off of."
Kilgerman, a friend of Allmendinger's off the track, is impressed by his strength and fortitude.
"Once you've lost it all, I think you see a lot of times, you come back and you're better at what you do. I think we're seeing that right now with AJ."
Drivers from all across the racing spectrum also weighed in on Allmendinger's big win.
Yes!!!! So pumped for @AJDinger !! Couldn't be a more deserving winner of that nationwide race. Awesome— Conor Daly (@ConorDaly22) June 23, 2013