AJ Allmendinger slid past Justin Allgaier with seven laps to go, then defended his lead through a late restart and a pair of nerve-testing green-white-checkered overtime finishes to win Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Road America.
For Allmendinger, it was another step toward rebuilding his racing career after sitting out part of last season because of a violation of NASCAR’s substance-abuse policy. It also was a return to victory lane at Road America for Allmendinger, who won at the 4-mile road course in Central Wisconsin in the Champ Car Series in 2006.
Allgaier finished second, followed by Parker Kligerman, Owen Kelly and Sam Hornish Jr.
Billy Johnson led on a restart with eight to go, but he slid wide in Turn 5 and was passed by Allgaier and Allmendinger. Allmendinger then made the decisive move one lap later, snatching the lead from Allgaier.
He’d have to defend his lead on three more restarts, fending off a charge from Allgaier with three laps to go and then facing two green-white-checkered finishes.
Jamie McMurray was a surprise pole winner at Sonoma Raceway, topping Marcos Ambrose , a race favorite, with a lap at 94.986 mph to start first in today’s Sprint Cup race. … IndyCar points leader Helio Castroneves claimed the pole for today’s IndyCar race at Iowa Speedway, but he’ll start 11th after switching out his engine. Teammate Will Power will now start first alongside James Hinchcliffe . … Danish driver Allan Simonsen died following a crash at the 24 Hours of Le Mans on Saturday in the first driver fatality at the high-speed endurance event since 1997. … Race organizers say two-time champion Wolf Silvester has died because of “health problems” during the German VLN Endurance Racing Championship.