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TBT: AJ Allmendinger Wins First MENCS Race at Watkins Glen

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In 2014 A.J. Allmendinger finally broke through with his first victory in NASCARís premier series in the Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen but it was a victory for his small team as well. The victory marked the first time JTG-Daugherty racing which was then only a single-car team would make a trip to victory lane.

Allmendinger battled with Marcos Ambrose over the final 10-laps which included a two-lap green flag battle to the finish.

At the time Allmendinger had 212 previous starts in the MENCS with a best finish of second at Martinsville in April of 2012 therefore the victory was an emotional one and one that was a long time in the making.

“My gosh, I canít believe we won a NASCAR Sprint Cup race! I just wanted it for them, this team, they deserve it, theyíve worked so hard, said Allmendinger.Ē

The victory would lock up a Chase spot for Allmendinger, a spot that second-place Ambrose was hoping he would claim.

“We put a lot of effort into this race, we knew it was a great chance for us to make the Chase. Iím pretty disappointed, because itís so much to win, so much effort. But congratulations to AJ, said Ambrose.Ē

It was a race that at the time brought a lot of safety concerns to the sport as it was wrecked filled and some drivers were lucky to walk away uninjured.

On lap 56 there was a huge crash in turns 5 and 6 involving drivers Greg Biffle, Ryan Newman and Michael McDowell among a few others. There was such severe impact on the cars of Newman and McDowell the cars were almost unrecognizable, but the drivers were able to walk away.

“Wrong place, wrong time,” said Newman, who was not happy afterward. Itís a very antiquated race track and itís not at all up to NASCARís safety standards.”

The red flag was brought out twice and would last almost 90 minutes before the race resumed.

The race would eventually have a few more cautions when Josh Wise went off track, Denny Hamlin than crashed into the barrels at the entrance to pit road and Alex Kennedy would also wreck.

However, none of that would be enough to stop Allmendinger in route to his first MENCS victory. NASCARís premier series returns to the Glen this Sunday where Allmendinger hopes to capture another victory at the famous road course.

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About Sarah Handy

Sarah Handy is a NASCAR writer. You can find her on Twitter at @SarahHandy85. A college student studying Communications/Public Relations Field and an Electronics Associate at Walmart. Sarah enjoys tweeting about racing, running, reading, puzzles, video games, and photography. Born and raised in Rhode Island, Sarah avidly follows all major New England Teams (Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins & Celtics) as well as a huge fan of what she considers her ďhome trackĒ New Hampshire Motor Speedway which she attend for the races each year.

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