AJ Allmendinger’s month of June – like his last year – has been a roller coaster ride.
But if at the start of the month it seemed out of control with double first lap retirements in an IndyCar at Detroit, on Saturday at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., Allmendinger firmly reined in the train.
The most important of Allmendinger’s NASCAR Nationwide Series win? He’s finally put himself on a poster in the legendary halls of the Penske Racing facility, and repaid Roger Penske’s trust and belief in his ability.
“What Roger’s done for me, personally, it has meant a lot more,” Allmendinger said after the race. “After everything happened last year, he was making sure I was OK. He’s got so much going on. He kept checking up on me. I didn’t expect anything from it. It was nice to have a friend, someone to bounce ideas off of. Once the IndyCar thing for Indy got going, it was a surprise. But it was a bit of motivation to be focused.”
Allmendinger would not be denied Saturday. He had the pace all weekend but had to withstand pressure on several late-race restarts.
“The restarts started to frustrate me, but Jeremy (Bullins, crew chief) was good at calming me down,” he said.
“My confidence came from beating some guys in golf,” he deadpanned.
In that golf outing, Allmendinger didn’t hit any balls into the ocean. But his win is truly Penske material.
Lewis Hamilton and Sebastien Vettel are the two most decorated drivers currently on the Formula 1 grid, with seven World Championships between them (four for Vettel, and three for Hamilton).
However, their paths have rarely crossed on the track, and only in 2010 did both drivers battle each for a World Championship in the same year. They also battled Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber that year, with Vettel emerging on top to claim his first World Championship.
However, the 2017 season sees Hamilton and Vettel in the two best cars on the grid, and they have gone head-to-head multiple times already this year, with each claiming two victories through the first five races. Currently, Vettel leads Hamilton 104-98 in the world championship, and the two men are developing a strong on-track rivalry.
Monaco Grand Prix coverage continues with FP3 and qualifying on Saturday. Full times are linked here.
In Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, we take you behind the scenes during F1 superstar Fernando Alonso’s qualifying runs for the Indy 500, including when he was on the pole for a brief period. He’ll eventually start fifth.
On Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, Parker Kligerman and his backseat driver, Kyle Petty, took to the iRacing simulator to make a mock run around Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.
They look at the challenges of IMS, as well as the challenges two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso will face in the first oval track race in his illustrious career. Alonso is among the favorites in the race and will take the green flag from the middle of Row 2 (fifth position).
Check out the above video.
Sunday is the biggest day of the year in motorsports, starting in the morning with Formula 1’s legendary Monaco Grand Prix.
Then, at Noon ET, it’s the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The final part of the tripleheader of racing is NASCAR’s longest race of the season, the 400-lap, 600-mile Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Newly-named NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2018 inductee Ken Squier gives you a great primer for what promises to be a memorable day around the world (see video above).