INDIANAPOLIS -- AJ Allmendinger took advantage of final-laps chaos Sunday to win the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard NASCAR Cup Series race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The road course specialist led just two laps -- the last two -- in his Kaulig Racing Chevrolet to snag the double overtime victory.
"This is unbelievable," Allmendinger said. "In my wildest dreams I could never imagine how that just played out."
Allmendinger was starting just his fourth Cup race of the season -- all coming on road courses. The win was his second in 375 series starts.
Ryan Blaney of Team Penske finished second. Third was Hendrick Motorsports' Kyle Larson, who was looking to win back-to-back races.
Rounding out the top five was Chase Elliott, a heavy favorite at the start of the day, and Matt DiBenedetto of the Wood Brothers Racing team.
Allmendinger took the lead on the final restart lap when Chase Briscoe and Denny Hamlin were taken out of the running.
First, Briscoe was penalized after he blew through the grass on Turn 1 and illegally re-entered the track while attempting to take the lead from Denny Hamlin.
Joe Gibbs Racing's Hamlin kept the lead but was bumped sideways by Briscoe several corners after Briscoe had cut through the grass.
Allmendinger was there to capitalize when Hamlin was turned.
"It was survival of the fittest," Allmendinger said of the finish. "We probably had an eighth or 10th place car. I thought we were going to finish 12th or 15th. And then those restarts were just insane."
Hamlin, who was attempting to win for the first time in 2021, and Briscoe engaged in a lengthy discussion after the race.
Briscoe said he wasn't aware he had been penalized until he got to Turn 10. Hamlin scoffed at that.
"I agree it's not on purpose," Hamlin said of the punt from behind. "My team told me he had a penalty right away. To me, it's obvious that if you cut the race track and end up in the lead you're going to have a penalty."
Hamlin called it bad judgment and a lack of situational awareness from Briscoe and that someone "can't race that way."
Sunday was the debut of Cup cars on the road circuit in Indianapolis.
Next week, the series heads a bit farther north to race at the Michigan International Speedway 2-mile oval.