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The Dinger Repays Penske With NNS Victory

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Saturday, June 22 2013

A.J. Allmendinger lights up tires after winning at Road America on Saturday. (Photo courtesy of NASCAR)

A.J. Allmendinger of Penske Racing earned both his first career NASCAR and Nationwide Series win in the Johnsonville Sausage 200 Presented by Menards at Road America on Saturday.

It was Allmendinger’s first start in a Nationwide Series race since 2008. But he’s no stranger to victory lane at the 4-mile Road America road course, having won there in the now-defunct Champ Car World Series in 2006.

“It’s my favorite track now,” Allmendinger said with a smile. “It’s a lot of fun. This track is still the same racetrack I remember. The same characteristics still apply to both race cars. The track is still the same thing with how you have to get into the corners and where the grip levels are in the corners.”

Earlier in the afternoon, Allmendinger won the Coors Light Pole Award with a lap of 109.233 mph, his first pole in nine career Nationwide Series races.

Team owner Roger Penske asked Allmendinger before last month’s Indianapolis 500 if he’d be interested in competing in a couple of upcoming Nationwide Series races. Saturday’s race at Road America was the first and Allmendinger will race again August 17 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

“We’re going to try and get another one there,” Allmendinger said.

After Owen Kelly shoved series points leader Regan Smith into Billy Johnson, sending all three cars sailing on Lap 47, Allmendinger took the green flag two laps later.

But that was short-lived as on Lap 50, which should have been the second-to-last lap, Michael Annett took a spin, got stuck in rain-soaked grass and brought out the eighth and final caution flag.

On the second GWC restart on Lap 54, Allmendinger’s Ford Mustang dueled with Justin Allgaier’s Chevrolet Camaro, but pulled away at the start of the 55th and final lap and won by a comfortable 1.372-second margin.

“I knew the car was quicker than everybody,” Allmendinger said. “I still knew if I could get back the lead, as long as I didn’t make any mistakes, they weren’t going to pass me.”

Allgaier finished second, followed by Parker Kligerman.

“I’m still not a road racer, I can assure you of that,” Allgaier said. “Just watching A.J. and seeing some of the places he was able to go on that last green-white-checker, I still have some stuff to learn.”

Added Kligerman, “It’s just complete chaos most of the time near the end of the race and all you hope is you put yourself in the right place amongst the chaos and hopefully it goes your way.”

Owen Kelly finished fourth, followed by Sam Hornish Jr.

Sixth through tenth were Brian Vickers, who will also race Sunday in the Sprint Cup road course race at Sonoma Raceway, followed by Kyle Larson, Cole Whitt, Elliott Sadler and Austin Dillon.

Because of the tangle he had with Kelly and Johnson on Lap 47, series points leader Regan Smith dropped from fifth to a disappointing 32nd-place finish, one lap down from the winner.

Smith also saw his 58-point series lead cut to just a 28-point edge over Allgaier and 30 points in front of Hornish.

NASCAR Nationwide Series Race – Johnsonville Sausage 200 Presented by Menards

Road America

Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin

Saturday, June 22, 2013

1. (1) AJ Allmendinger(i), Ford, 55, $59325.

2. (4) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 55, $43225.

3. (3) Parker Kligerman, Toyota, 55, $33925.

4. (2) Owen Kelly, Toyota, 55, $28275.

5. (8) Sam Hornish Jr., Ford, 55, $23775.

6. (9) Brian Vickers, Toyota, 55, $23425.

7. (13) Kyle Larson #, Chevrolet, 55, $21825.

8. (17) Cole Whitt, Toyota, 55, $20100.

9. (22) Elliott Sadler, Toyota, 55, $20825.

10. (14) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 55, $20775.

11. (26) Brendan Gaughan(i), Chevrolet, 55, $13475.

12. (12) Johnny O’Connell, Chevrolet, 55, $19400.

13. (31) Mike Wallace, Chevrolet, 55, $19300.

14. (29) James Buescher(i), Chevrolet, 55, $13175.

15. (7) Billy Johnson, Ford, 55, $18575.

16. (19) Travis Pastrana, Ford, 55, $19025.

17. (10) Max Papis, Chevrolet, 55, $18925.

18. (28) Kenny Habul, Toyota, 55, $12825.

19. (25) Stanton Barrett, Ford, 55, $18750.

20. (18) Brian Scott, Chevrolet, 55, $19375.

21. (6) Nelson Piquet Jr. #, Chevrolet, 55, $18625.

22. (37) Kevin O’Connell, Chevrolet, 55, $18585.

23. (24) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 55, $18550.

24. (15) Alex Bowman #, Toyota, 55, $18490.

25. (40) Dexter Stacey #, Ford, 55, $12895.

26. (32) Jeffrey Earnhardt #, Ford, 55, $18385.

27. (35) Eric McClure, Toyota, 55, $18350.

28. (34) John Young, Dodge, 55, $12320.

29. (21) Andrew Ranger, Dodge, 55, $12285.

30. (11) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 55, $18540.

31. (27) Kyle Kelley, Chevrolet, 54, $18195.

32. (16) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 54, $18150.

33. (23) Mike Bliss, Toyota, Overheating, 53, $18120.

34. (5) Michael McDowell(i), Toyota, 52, $18100.

35. (20) Michael Annett, Ford, Accident, 50, $18068.

36. (38) Derek White, Toyota, Oil Leak, 37, $17255.

37. (33) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, Chassis, 31, $17235.

38. (39) Tony Raines, Toyota, Rear Gear, 20, $11216.

39. (30) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, Engine, 7, $11075.

40. (36) Jeff Green, Toyota, Brakes, 2, $10975.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 74.697 mph.

Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 58 Mins, 50 Secs. Margin of Victory: 1.372 Seconds.

Caution Flags: 8 for 16 laps.

Lead Changes: 11 among 7 drivers.

Lap Leaders: A. Allmendinger(i) 1-6; B. Johnson 7-13; O. Kelly 14; P. Kligerman 15-18; O. Kelly 19-25; A. Allmendinger(i) 26-30; S. Hornish Jr. 31-32; J. Buescher(i) 33; A. Allmendinger(i) 34-39; B. Johnson 40-42; J. Allgaier 43; A. Allmendinger(i) 44-55.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): A. Allmendinger(i) 4 times for 29 laps; B. Johnson 2 times for 10 laps; O. Kelly 2 times for 8 laps; P. Kligerman 1 time for 4 laps; S. Hornish Jr. 1 time for 2 laps; J. Allgaier 1 time for 1 lap; J. Buescher(i) 1 time for 1 lap.

Top 10 in Points: R. Smith – 507; J. Allgaier – 479; S. Hornish Jr. – 477; A. Dillon – 462; E. Sadler – 459; P. Kligerman – 447; K. Larson # – 440; B. Scott – 439; B. Vickers – 433; T. Bayne – 421.

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Saturday, June 22 2013
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