AJ Allmendinger wins Xfinity Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

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INDIANAPOLIS — AJ Allmendinger continues to polish his reputation as a first-class road warrior.

Allmendinger ran away with the win in Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race on Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 2.4-mile road course, scoring his third Xfinity road win of the season.

Allmendinger, who also won last year’s Cup Series road race at Indy, is the all-time road-course victory leader in the Xfinity Series with nine.

Following Allmendinger, who scored his 13th career win, to the finish line were Alex Bowman (two seconds behind), Justin Allgaier, Ross Chastain and Chase Briscoe.

MORE: Indianapolis Xfinity results

Allmendinger, driving for Kaulig Racing, had an adventurous day. Early in the race, an extended pit stop dropped him into the middle of the pack. He powered through the field to return to the lead with a deep dive into Turn 1 on a restart.

“God, I love this place! Indy baby, let’s go!” Allmendinger yelled after the race. “We struggled and worked hard to get a little better. I knew Bowman was really good on long runs, so I tried to stay out there. Our car had some brake issues, as well. The guys recovered really well.”

Allmendinger said his victories at Indy will always be at the top of his list.

“No matter what you race, if you’re able to win something here it lasts in your memory forever,” he said.

Allmendinger joined other drivers who had won races at Indianapolis for a group photo at the start-finish line Saturday morning. Included in the group were Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt, Rick Mears, Dale Jarrett and Jimmie Johnson.

“I didn’t even feel like I belonged out there,” Allmendinger said. “What am I doing here? That’s the coolest photo I’ll ever have in my life.”

Now there’s another Indy win to add to his memory bank.

Stage 1 winner: Noah Gragson

Stage 2 winner: Josh Berry

Who had a good race: AJ Allmendinger was easily the class of the field in winning for the third time this year. … Alex Bowman was fast on extended runs and came home second. He didn’t have the late-race power to catch Allmendinger. … Justin Allgaier brought a banged-up race car home third, passing Ross Chastain for position on the final lap.

Who had a bad race: Jeb Burton didn’t get a chance to test the strength of his car. A track-bar issue sent Burton to the garage on the pace lap. He finished 38th — last. … Bubba Wallace finished 35th, running only 28 laps before parking with engine issues.

Next: The Xfinity Series moves on to Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan for a Saturday, Aug. 6 race (USA Network).