By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
On a chaotic Sunday afternoon at Indianapolis, you’ll have an extremely hard time finding any driver but AJ Allmendinger smiling. Ryan Blaney was among those bummed after finishing second in the Verizon 200. Not because of the madness during the final hour, but simply getting the shortest straw.
During the final restart, Blaney was fifth and one of the few competitors who weren’t snake bitten by the dreaded Turn 6 curbs. Suddenly, shenanigans happened in front of him as Denny Hamlin and Chase Briscoe eliminated themselves from the win.
Due to this, Blaney was suddenly one spot behind Allmendinger coming to the white flag and eager to get his second win of the season. The No. 12 Menards/Knauf Ford Mustang tried cutting the gap on the No. 16 Hyperic Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, but it wasn’t meant to be.
As Allmendinger celebrated his second career Cup win which marked Kaulig Racing’s maiden series win. Blaney was denied sweeping the Brickyard weekend for Team Penske after Will Power (INDYCAR) and Austin Cindric (Xfinity) won their races Saturday.
Despite the disappointment, Blaney was relieved to escape the Indy Road Course with his first top-three since his spring Atlanta win.
“That was a wild race, especially towards the end. I feel like we could have run 10th-12th all day and that is where we were,” said Blaney.
“We just kind of got a couple good restarts and dodged some mess and we had a good shot to try to win the race. I just couldn’t put together a good enough lap and a half to get to Allmendinger and try to pass.
“We survived all day and did a good job. The whole team did a good job sticking in there. The race got pretty crazy at the end. We almost made it a perfect weekend for Penske Racing, just missed it by one spot.”
With two races left in the regular season, Blaney will head to Michigan Speedway eighth in points.