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Allmendinger: "Doesn't matter" if I'm OK with Chastain's move

A.J. Allmendinger went from contending for a NASCAR Cup Series win to a 33rd-place finish in the final corners of the final lap Sunday at Circuit of the Americas.

Such is the cruel fate that can be road course racing in NASCAR, especially when it involves a driver looking for his first career victory.

Ross Chastain, who entered the race with three consecutive finishes of third or better, grabbed the lead on the first lap of overtime then had to fight off both Allmendinger and Alex Bowman on the final lap to secure his first series victory.

It was certainly eventful.

In Turn 15 of the 3.41-mile road course on the final lap, Allmendinger bumped Chastain out of the lead. Chastain then bumped Allmendinger in Turn 17, as Bowman moved by both to move out front.

Chastain then hit Allmendinger again in Turn 18 of the 20-turn course, which sent Allmendinger’s car into Bowman’s and both of them went off track. Chastain reclaimed the lead and grabbed the win two turns later.

“At the end of the day, we all have to look ourselves in the mirror. If you are okay with it, you’re okay with it. Each person is different,” Allmendinger said after the race.

“You know those moves are going to be made at times. Whether I’m OK with it or not doesn’t matter. Everybody’s got to look in the mirror and be comfortable with what they do, and you can’t judge anyone for that.

“Everybody’s got to be comfortable with the move they make.”

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Allmendinger had earned his first Xfinity Series win of the year on Saturday at COTA and by the end of Sunday’s race his No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet was clearly one of the fastest cars.

While Allmendinger led only two of the 68 laps, more than a dozen of them were spent dueling with Chastain for the lead in the final stage.

Allmendinger, who competes fulltime in Xfinity, runs a partial Cup schedule in Kaulig’s second Cup team.

“Everybody at Kaulig Racing, all the men and women, it’s just a lot of sleepless nights for them right now trying to just get these cars to the next race,” he said. “So, I was doing everything I could do to try to sweep the weekend for them. We were that close.

“At the end of the day we know we had a shot to win the race. It’s tough to win a Cup race, so when you put yourself in a position to legitimately run up front all day and have a shot to win it, it's a pretty great day.

“Unfortunately, just we needed about two more corners."

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