Race Weekend Central

Underdogs: Indianapolis

Have No Fear; The Underdogs Are Here: Indianapolis Edition

Are you a fan of a driver from a smaller team? Do you ever see one of these guys on the race results and wonder how he got there? NASCAR’s small teams may not get much airtime during the race broadcast, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to talk about. Each week, Amy Henderson takes a peek into how the little guys fared in the race and picks three who stood out.

 Underdog Selection No. 1: AJ Allmendinger for JTG-Daugherty Racing; started 36th, finished 18th

 It was another good finish for Allmendinger, but his day didn’t start out strong; Allmendinger qualified just 36th but he quickly moved forward racing as high as 15th at one point before settling for 18th place. The strong run saw Allmendinger gain three spots to 23rd in driver points, where he’s easily the top of the small-team class over Casey Mears in 26th.

 Underdog Selection No. 2: Michael McDowell for Leavine Family Racing; started 28th, finished 26th

McDowell was stout this week, turning in his tfourth top-30 finish in a row on this team’s limited schedule. The No. 95 finished on the lead lap, and only Allmendinger had a better finish from among the smaller teams. McDowell has shown that he’s capable of moving the team forward, and while it will come in baby steps, the team has made some gains this year.

Underdog Selection No. 3: Justin Allgaier for HScott Motorsports; started 31st, finished 27th

Allgaier certainly had a quiet day in Indianapolis, and while his 27th-place run might not be one to write home about, it was good for third among the small teams. Indy is harder on these teams than almost any other track, so his finish isn’t terrible, and it was better than most of his peers’ day. Allgaier is learning the Cup cars and he’s improving, which is nothing to sneeze at for a rookie driver.

Underdog Pick of the Week-Daytona: David Ragan for Front Row Motorsports

My pick for Indianapolis was AJ Allmendinger, and he did top the small-team class handily on the big oval. His RCR horsepower might have had something to do with it, but Allmendinger drove a solid race just the same.

Next weekend, teams head to Pocono for the second time this summer. Like Indy, Pocono is incredibly hard on the smaller teams, but avid Ragan does have an average finish of 23.9. If his team can finish in that 24th-place range, it will be a successful weekend.

Is your favorite driver among NASCAR’s underdogs? Are you frustrated with the lack of coverage they receive during the race broadcasts? Amy has all the small teams covered each and every week in The Big Six (INSERT THIS WEEK’S LINK). Be sure to check it out to see how your favorites fared!_



About the author

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Amy is an 20-year veteran NASCAR writer and a six-time National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) writing award winner, including first place awards for both columns and race coverage. As well as serving as Photo Editor, Amy writes The Big 6 (Mondays) after every NASCAR Cup Series race. She can also be found working on her bi-weekly columns Holding A Pretty Wheel (Tuesdays) and Only Yesterday (Wednesdays). A New Hampshire native whose heart is in North Carolina, Amy’s work credits have extended everywhere from driver Kenny Wallace’s website to Athlon Sports. She can also be heard weekly as a panelist on the Hard Left Turn podcast that can be found on AccessWDUN.com's Around the Track page.

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