Skip to content

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

Aug 11, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

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. Roger Penske defends Keselowski, says other drivers “jealous” of his success

    Oct 19, 2014, 9:00 PM EDT

    Sprint All-Star Race - Qualifying Getty Images

    The Captain doesn’t mind some emotion and edge from his veteran driver.

  2. What now if your favorite driver is eliminated from Chase?

    Oct 19, 2014, 8:19 PM EDT

    (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) Getty Images

    If you’re a hardcore NASCAR fan, even if your favorite driver has been eliminated for the remainder of the Chase for the Sprint Cup, you’re probably asking a very poignant question: Now what?

  3. Ryan Newman’s car found to be too low in rear, could lead to penalties

    Oct 19, 2014, 7:43 PM EDT

    GEICO 500 - Practice Getty Images

    Newman finished fifth in today’s race at Talladega and entered the Eliminator Round of the Chase with a 27-point cushion over the cutoff.

  4. Winless wonders: Ryan Newman, Matt Kenseth break into Eliminator Round

    Oct 19, 2014, 7:00 PM EDT

    Hollywood Casino 400 - Practice Getty Images

    While they’re still missing a checkered flag, Newman and Kenseth are doing what they have to do.

  5. Uncanny: Powerful Hendrick Motorsports goes from four to just one team left in Chase

    Oct 19, 2014, 6:33 PM EDT

    (AP Photo/John Bazemore) AP

    Hendrick Motorsports began Sunday at Talladega with four teams still in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. But its race day ended with three of those four eliminated from advancing to the next round, and veteran Jeff Gordon left as the lone HMS to move on.

  6. Dale Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch and Kasey Kahne eliminated from Chase

    Oct 19, 2014, 6:01 PM EDT

    (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt) AP

    Defending Sprint Cup champ Jimmie Johnson, teammates Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne, and Kyle Busch were all eliminated from advancing in the Chase Sunday at Talladega.

  7. Brad Keselowski wins at Talladega on 2nd G-W-C attempt, advances in Chase

    Oct 19, 2014, 5:46 PM EDT

    Geico 500 Getty Images

    One week after being part of the post-race controversy in Charlotte, Keselowski gets the victory he needed to keep his season going.

  8. Late wreck knocks Dale Jr. out of Chase advancement

    Oct 19, 2014, 5:35 PM EDT

    (Todd Warshaw/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s dream of his first Sprint Cup championship this season ended in a nightmare two laps from the end of Sunday’s Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

  9. UPDATED: Chase contender Kyle Busch back on track after Lap 102 crash (VIDEO)

    Oct 19, 2014, 4:47 PM EDT

    (Photo: Nick Laham/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Busch had been up 26 points over the Chase cutoff going into today’s race.

  10. Faced with must-win scenarios, Earnhardt, Johnson lead halfway at Talladega

    Oct 19, 2014, 3:55 PM EDT

    (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt) AP

    Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson – in must-win situations – have been among the top performers in Sunday’s Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

  11. Keselowski falls back after taking side damage in Lap 60 incident

    Oct 19, 2014, 3:27 PM EDT

    GEICO 500 - Practice Getty Images

    Keselowski one of several drivers needing a win today at Talladega.

  12. New book celebrates 50-year history of NHRA’s World Finals

    Oct 19, 2014, 2:59 PM EDT

    (Photo courtesy NHRA) (Photo courtesy NHRA)

    When it comes to the NHRA, there’s only one Pomona. And now there’s a new book to commemorate the upcoming 50th anniversary of the season-ending NHRA World Finals.

  13. Surprising revelation: Dale Jr. admits he coasted earlier in his career — ‘I just rested on my legacy and last name’

    Oct 19, 2014, 2:22 PM EDT

    (Brian Lawdermilk, Getty Images) Getty Images

    In one of the most candid interviews of his career, Dale Earnhardt Jr. admitted that he hasn’t always been as determined and focused on success as he is now.

  14. WSR and DTM paddocks send their support to Jules Bianchi

    Oct 19, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    © Renault Sport © Renault Sport

    The motorsport world continues to send its support to Bianchi and his family two weeks on from his accident in Japan.

  15. Richard Petty Motorsports returning to former home base

    Oct 19, 2014, 1:12 PM EDT

    (AP Photo/Mel Evans) AP

    One day after it was revealed that Richard Petty Motorsports will have to find a new base for its racing operations, the legendary Hall of Famer’s teams are going home in a sense.

  16. Button thankful for support amid uncertain F1 future

    Oct 19, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Monaco - Previews Getty Images

    McLaren driver takes to Twitter to thanks his fans for their support.

  17. With nothing left to do but win, Dale Earnhardt Jr. faces Talladega with optimism

    Oct 19, 2014, 12:15 PM EDT

    GEICO 500 - Practice Getty Images

    Junior: “We’re going to go out there and try to accomplish that goal and give it all we’ve got.”

  18. Max Verstappen finishes FIA F3 season in third place

    Oct 19, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

    Belgium F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    Esteban Ocon champion as the FIA F3 European Championship season comes to an end at Hockenheim in Germany.

  19. Report: Kubica still dreaming of Formula 1 comeback

    Oct 19, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

    AUTO-RALLY-WORLD-WRC Getty Images

    Former F1 driver will consider his options for 2015 over the winter.

  20. Leaving Red Bull could be the making of Sebastian Vettel

    Oct 19, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-RUS Getty Images

    They named him “Baby Schumi” back in 2008, and the moniker is becoming all the more relevant as he prepares for life with Ferrari in 2015.

Video from NASCAR America

Terry Labonte's milestone race
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. B. Keselowski (2018)
  2. K. Busch (1785)
  3. J. McMurray (1415)
  4. T. Stewart (1273)
  5. J. Gordon (1236)