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No. 4: Allmendinger Scores Shock Win in Crazy, Historic Brickyard Race

Note: The editorial staff at IMS.com is taking a look back at the 10 biggest moments of 2021 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in this year-end series, with one installment appearing on the site per day in countdown fashion from Dec. 22-31.

A new chapter in NASCAR’s history at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was written Sunday, Aug. 15, and just like when the first chapter was written in 1994, it was an unforgettable race.

After 26 years of competition on the historic 2.5-mile oval, NASCAR transitioned from the oval to the 14-turn, 2.439-mile IMS road course for the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard. In true Indy form, the two best drivers dominated most of the race.

The race got off to a poignant start when William Byron scored the pole Sunday morning driving the No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet fielded by Hendrick Motorsports, a memorable nod to Jeff Gordon, who won the inaugural Brickyard 400 in the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet fielded by Hendrick.

Eventual NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Larson paced the field for most of the race, leading 28 of 95 laps in the No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet. Denny Hamlin, his key antagonist on the 2021 season and the driver he battled to the wire for both the regular-season championship and overall championship, was right in his tire tracks, leading 27 laps in the No. 11 FedEx Toyota.

The race will forever be known for the last six laps, which forced the best from these stock car drivers in one of the most chaotic and exciting ways possible that defined the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season.

It all started with six laps remaining when Hamlin, Chase Briscoe and Kurt Busch raced three-wide for the lead heading into Turn 1 on a late-race restart. Four turns later, a 10-car pileup occurred in Turns 5-6 after hitting a curb.

The dramatic incident changed the complexity of the race entirely and amped up the anticipation to win the first NASCAR Cup Series race on the IMS road course. Once the red flag was lifted, the race went into two overtimes as Hamlin and Briscoe went all-out.

The battle took a wild move in Turn 1 after the beginning of the second overtime when Briscoe went off course and re-entered the track in Turn 2 behind Hamlin. The two roared down the backstretch of the road course and through Turn 7 with Briscoe on Hamlin’s tail.

Heading into Turn 10 with two laps to go, the two made contact and Hamlin went spinning into the grass while Briscoe continued as the leader. Briscoe was black flagged for going off track and had to give up his position entering Turn 12.

That allowed second place driver Allmendinger to inherit the lead coming to the white flag, and he scored his first NASCAR Cup Series win since 2014 in his part-time No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet.

As a former INDYCAR SERIES driver and Indianapolis 500 competitor, it was a lifetime achievement for the California native and another memorable chapter in the history of the Racing Capital of the World.

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