Oval master: Allmendinger wins on NASCAR oval for 1st time

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AJ Allmendinger celebrates after he won a NASCAR Xfinity Series auto race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Saturday, June 6, 2020, in Hampton, Ga. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

HAMPTON, Ga. – HAMPTON, Ga.A.J. Allmendinger finally won on an oval.

He might just retire.

Taking advantage of mistakes by the three leaders, the 38-year-old Californian cruised to victory by nearly 2 seconds over pole-sitter Noah Gragson in the Xfinity Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday.

"Oh my god,” Allmendinger said as he climbed from his No. 16 Chevrolet. “I won on an oval.”

Indeed, he did.

Allmendinger, who first came to prominence in open-wheel racing, claimed a single victory during more than a decade in the top-level Cup series, and he had three previous Xfinity wins — all on road courses.

Now, he's filled in a big hole on his resume.

“All I ever wanted to do was win on an oval,” said Allmendinger, who has only a part-time job in the Xfinity Series after losing his Cup ride after the 2018 season. “I have a lot of success in so many forms of racing.”