Skip to content

Allmendinger’s win was a positive on challenging weekend (VIDEO)

Aug 11, 2014, 1:00 PM EST

At any other time, A.J. Allmendinger’s triumph on Sunday at Watkins Glen International would be hailed.

His win in the Cheez-It 355 was his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory.

It propelled him and his single-car JTG Daugherty Racing team into the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

And it came after an electrifying battle over the last two laps with Marcos Ambrose, a driver equally skilled as he is in road racing, if not more so.

Then there’s the comeback aspect.

In 2012, Allmendinger failed a drug test and subsequently lost his full-time Sprint Cup ride with Team Penske. That led to a 2013 season in which he kept jumping between stock cars and open-wheel, where he first rose to fame as an American star in the tail end of the Champ Car era.

He then decided that NASCAR was where he needed to be and signed up for a full-time return to Cup this year with the small JTG Daugherty outfit.

And now, with Sunday’s win, they’re all going to be fighting the giants – Hendrick Motorsports, Team Penske, Joe Gibbs Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing and the like – for a championship this fall.

Allmendinger’s won some big races in his career, including the 2012 Rolex 24 at Daytona after holding off sports car ace Allan McNish in a great duel.

But considering everything he’s gone through, which he dubbed vividly yesterday as “absolute hell,” this is the topper.

When you think about it, this story has everything. Sadly, it also has unfortunate timing.

The shocking sprint car incident on Saturday night that involved SHR co-owner Tony Stewart and took the life of young Kevin Ward Jr. has become the talk of the sports world.

As investigators continue to hunt for any bits of information that can help them reach a final say on the matter, many in the fan base and in the media community have already – and loudly – taken sides.

And through it all, Ward’s family and Stewart are all having to come to grips with the fact that this will be with them for the rest of their days, no matter the final judgment from the authorities.

It’s a difficult situation that will only get tougher in the days and weeks ahead. And right now, it’s casting a dark cloud over all of motorsports.

Some could compellingly argue that it’s overshadowing Allmendinger’s moment in the sun. Other winners this year – notably Aric Almirola at the July Daytona race and Brad Keselowski at Loudon a week later – were overshadowed by accidents, so Allmendinger joins that unfortunate club.

But that doesn’t really matter in this instance. As beautiful as Allmendinger’s win was to see, it means nothing compared to matters of life and death.

However, to his great credit, Allmendinger struck the right tone on the subject after taking the checkered flag.

“This NASCAR community as a whole, we’re a family, and when anything like that happens, it’s something that you don’t just kind of erase and you forget about,” he said.

“And all of our thoughts and prayers, and it may not seem like it, or I wish there was more to do, but it goes to the Ward family and what happened. It also goes to Tony because it’s not like he’s sitting there and forgetting about it. It’s a tough scenario.

“You just try to come together. That’s all you can do. You try to be thankful every day for the things that we have, the things that we’re able to share together, and you also know that there’s a lot less fortunate out there and there’s a lot of disasters, whether it’s in racing or not.”

Think of the Wards. Think of Stewart. Be thankful for what you’ve got and who you’ve got to share them with. Be mindful of those that are troubled.

Allmendinger’s victory may not get its proper due. But he still deserves our thanks for that much-needed dose of perspective, and for lifting our spirits on what was an otherwise dreary Sunday.

Latest Posts
  1. McLaren’s already difficult offseason unaided by its handling of Alonso story

    Mar 3, 2015, 3:00 PM EST

    McLaren-Honda Announces New Driver Line-Up For 2015 Getty Images

    Fernando Alonso’s accident in testing has raised way more questions than answers.

  2. Florida Power & Light signs onto Miami ePrix; Brabham enjoys demo run (PHOTOS)

    Mar 3, 2015, 10:51 AM EST

    Milwaukee IndyFest - Day 1 Getty Images

    Formula E partners with FPL for Miami ePrix; Matty Brabham does the demo runs.

  3. Rolling Stone partners with Tequila Patron ESM for the 24 Hours of Le Mans

    Mar 3, 2015, 10:06 AM EST

    PatronD24 AP

    Tequila Patron ESM, Rolling Stone come together for one-off outing at 24 Hours of Le Mans.

  4. Susie Wolff will have at least two FP1 outings, Spain and Britain

    Mar 3, 2015, 9:53 AM EST

    Australian F1 Grand Prix - Practice Getty Images

    Susie Wolff confirmed for Spain, Silverstone FP1 outings and another day in Austria.

  5. Fernando Alonso ruled out of Australian Grand Prix

    Mar 3, 2015, 7:54 AM EST

    Fernando Alonso AP

    Alonso ruled out of season opener, following medical advice.

  6. Mercedes F1: Race to Repeat: Teaser clips and preview (VIDEO)

    Mar 2, 2015, 7:31 PM EST

    F1 Testing In Barcelona - Day Three Getty Images

    Mercedes F1: Road to Repeat premieres this Thursday, March 5, at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

  7. GP of NOLA weekend schedule announced

    Mar 2, 2015, 5:16 PM EST

    indynola

    Jam-packed schedule for inaugural GP of NOLA weekend.

  8. FIA WEC: Toyota Racing’s lead trio tackles Tokyo (VIDEO)

    Mar 2, 2015, 3:00 PM EST

    FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Bahrain Getty Images

    Toyota Racing’s trio of Davidson, Buemi and Nakajima tour Tokyo.

  9. Indy 500 ticket reveal set for March 5

    Mar 2, 2015, 2:00 PM EST

    Ryan Hunter-Reay AP

    RHR’s image on Indianapolis 500 tickets to be unveiled on Thursday.

  10. PWC enters 2015 season with an overflow of riches in all classes

    Mar 2, 2015, 1:00 PM EST

    WC

    With 114 cars total and a manufacturer overload, things look promising for Pirelli World Challenge heading into 2015.

  11. F1, IndyCar seasons finally premiere in 2015’s version of March madness

    Mar 2, 2015, 11:00 AM EST

    Mercedes Formula One driver Rosberg of Germany leads the pack at the start of the Australian F1 Grand Prix in Melbourne Reuters

    F1 and IndyCar kick off; NHRA, sports cars and ladder series also have a busy month of March ahead.

  12. F1: Barcelona second test wrap, and 2015 test times cumulative roundup

    Mar 2, 2015, 9:30 AM EST

    RosbergFinalBarc Getty Images

    Mercedes leads in pace, and lap count as F1 preseason testing is in the books for 2015.

  13. Michael Schumacher’s son Mick to race in ADAC F4 championship this season

    Mar 2, 2015, 8:59 AM EST

    MickSchu Getty Images

    Mick Schumacher to advance from karting into cars this season.

  14. Max Chilton makes intriguing career shift with Nissan LMP1 move

    Mar 2, 2015, 8:21 AM EST

    ChiltonColumn AP

    With potential Indy Lights success there for the taking, Max Chilton instead opts for the LMP1 route with Nissan.

  15. Max Chilton, Alex Buncombe complete Nissan LMP1 lineup

    Mar 2, 2015, 7:45 AM EST

    Photo: NISMO Photo: NISMO

    Max Chilton and Alex Buncombe round out the Nissan LMP1 lineup; Chilton full season and Buncombe at Le Mans.

  16. Barcelona F1 2nd Test Paddock Notebook – Sunday

    Mar 1, 2015, 5:00 PM EST

    F1 Testing In Barcelona - Day Four Getty Images

    Here’s the final recap from the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya as pre-season testing comes to a close.

  17. Ferrari staying grounded despite strong pre-season display

    Mar 1, 2015, 3:30 PM EST

    Maurizio Arrivabene AP

    Team principal Maurizio Arrivabene calls for “concentration and discipline” at Maranello in the lead-up to the start of the 2015 season.

  18. Happy Birthday to reigning IndyCar champion Will Power

    Mar 1, 2015, 3:00 PM EST

    Power a champion at long last. Photo: Getty Images Getty Images

    The Team Penske pilot turns 34 years old today.