By: Zach Catanzareti, Staff Writer
A second-place finish for most Xfinity teams would be enough to earn some high fives and smiling faces. Joining a stage win at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, a day like Saturday could have even merited a round of beers for AJ Allmendinger.
However, that was a far cry from the sight we saw on pit road following the result from the No. 16 Kaulig Racing driver, who was frustrated after a mistake-filled day hindered what could have been.
It started Turn 1, Lap 1 when Allmendinger, from pole, went off-track after a late brake into the first corner. From there, a slew of errors, said the veteran.
“I was awful, if you want the honest answer. I was bad,” Allmendinger said. “I got in there [in Turn 1] and thought I was OK. I went to go to first gear and it wheel-hopped a bit and got me wide. From there, I just made a whole mess of the first lap and got us behind. It got me frustrated.”
An ace on the road courses, Allmendinger picked up the pieces and marched forward, earning the Stage 2 win and coming home second at the checkered flag behind only race winner Austin Cindric.
“We worked hard to get it back,” he said. “And we got back to the lead out-right and had a very fast Chevy.
“It’s just the way the strategy works out with these Xfinity races on road courses. You get a couple cars going for the win, and unfortunately the No.22 [Cindric] went for it. We had the stage win. They played it smart, Austin did a great job. I thought we were better than them but it doesn’t matter, they’re the ones in Victory Lane.”
Saturday was Allmendinger’s second straight runner-up result after Watkins Glen last week. Additionally, it was his fifth top-five finish in the last seven races and 13th of the season.
With a Cup starts for Kaulig on Sunday, Allmendinger learned one thing for the historic event.
“That I have to be better in a racecar,” he said.
Simple as that. pic.twitter.com/Wo49MPos0m
— NASCAR Xfinity (@NASCAR_Xfinity) August 14, 2021