AJ Allemdinger proved Saturday he is not just a road-course ringer anymore, beating a host of young drivers to win the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The win by AJ Allemdinger was just the second oval-track victory in NASCAR for the former IndyCar and NASCAR Cup Series driver. Allmendinger, 39, has seven NASCAR wins, including a 2014 win in the Cup Series. Five of his wins have come on road courses.
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The win at Las Vegas was the second oval-track victory for AJ Allmendinger, who won his first oval-track race at Atlanta last year. Allmendinger returned to full-time racing in the Xfinit Series this year with Kaulig Racing.
AJ Allmendinger was emotional after winning his first race of the season for Kaulig Racing.
"Just emotional because you don't know when you are going to do this again," AJ Allmendinger said. "You don't know when your last win is going to be."
Allmedinger also paid tribute to the fans in the stands. Las Vegas Motor Speedway is allowing 12,500 fans to attend the three NASCAR races this weekend.
"It's awesome to have you back in the grandstands," Allmendinger said when he climbed from his car.
How did AJ Allmendinger win at Las Vegas?
AJ Allmendinger had a 2-second lead over Daniel Hemric when Austin Cindric got into the back of Harrison Burton, sending him for a spin and bringing out a caution flag with 26 laps to go. Allmendinger had stretched his lead to 19 seconds over third-place Brandon Jones after green-flag pit stops.
The caution flag, though, bunched up the field and Daniel Hemric took the lead on pit road. Hemric outran Allmendinger on the Lap-21 restart but Ty Dillon soon crashed bringing out another caution flag.
On the final restart on Lap 13, AJ Allmendinger battled Hemric for the lead, and then pulled away to wn by more than a second. Hemric finished second followed by Brandon Jones, Austin Cindric and Noah Gragson.
Austin Cindric, the defending Xfinity Series champion who won the season-opening race at Daytona, led early and won Stage 1 before running into trouble. Cindric was battling for the lead on Lap 54 when he suffered a flat tire and slowed on the track. Fortunately, as he was creeping to pit road a lap down, Ty Dillon and Riley Herbst crashed, bringing out a caution flag. The caution allowed Cindric to get back on the lead lap and he begin working his way back through the field.
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By the time Daniel Hemric won Stage 2, Cindric had already worked his way back into the top 10.
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