Despite admissions from many in NASCAR that the shift to a road course at the Brickyard was questionable, AJ Allmendinger took home the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard in Indianapolis on Sunday. Oval or no oval, it didn’t make much of a difference to the performance of Kaulig Racing’s AJ Allmendinger in the #16 Chevy.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course is a 2.4-mile course with a scheduled 199.9-mile distance to complete the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard. It’s safe to say NASCAR fans and drivers alike weren’t too fond of the track design.
Regardless, Allmendinger made quick work of the course, coming from behind to steal the win from NASCAR Cup Series tied leader Denny Hamlin after he spun out following contact with Chase Briscoe in overtime. Allmendinger won the race in the face of 20-1 odds stacked against him.
Hamlin himself was close to taking home the win and sole lead of the Cup Series along with it. This comes despite him saying that NASCAR lost a “crown jewel” ahead of the race.
“People hated the racing, but I don’t know. Are they really going to get more people out to the road course than what they did for the Brickyard 400? I’m not sure. I don’t love it — I don’t love the move. It took away a crown jewel,” Hamlin said.
Your Verizon 200 at the Brickyard Top 10 Finishers
AJ Allmendinger turned a surprise victory, no doubt. But how did the rest of the field fare? Well, the top 10 is going to have some major implications in terms of the NASCAR Cup Series standings.
Following Allemdinger was Ryan Blaney. The big third-place finish was owned by Kyle Larson, who looks set to break the tie with Denny Hamlin and claim the sole lead of the Series. Next came Chase Elliot, Matt Dibenedetto, Kurt Busch, Erik Jones, Justin Haley, Austin Cindric, and Ryan Newman in 10th place.
Denny Hamlin came home with a disappointing 23rd place finish after taking the bump from Briscoe and careening off the track.
Other NASCAR Drivers Echoed Hamlin’s Pushback on the Road Course
Changing the oval to a road course was far from a popular decision heading into Sunday’s NASCAR race. Ahead of the Verizon 200, a handful of drivers echoed Hamlin’s sentiments.
“I don’t view this track as Indianapolis, no. Indianapolis is the oval. That’s where the allure of Indianapolis comes from and being around since 1900. It’s been there forever and there’s a lot of history there,” Kyle Busch said.
“I’m not a huge fan. For me, driving through that tunnel and understanding the history and everything that comes with racing on the oval at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is something that I always look forward to,” Kevin Harvick said.