WATKINS GLEN, NY (WFXG) - We all feel good when an underdog pulls off an amazing victory over the giants in our sport. Well, that was the scene Sunday as the single car team driven by A.J. Allmendinger outran the competition to capture his first Cup Series Victory.
It was not just Allmendinger's first win but also the first win for car owner Brad Daugherty and his No. 47 race team.
"We're a smaller team as everyone continues to talk about, so it's a little bit harder for us," said Daugherty after the race. "We all have our roles, but it's a great group, and it's a big day for the little guys, because like I said, we got a chance to kick the big guys in the knees today, and boy, we kicked them square in the chin."
The day was filled with accidents as we have become accustomed to once NASCAR hits the road courses each year. However, Allmendinger kept his car clean and held off a hard charging Marcos Ambrose in the closing laps for the win.
"I don't believe he's one of the best road racers in NASCAR, I don't believe he's one of the best in the U.S., I believe he's one of the best in the world," said the race winner on racing Marcos for the victory.
Almendinger knew if he could get some distance on Ambrose on the last lap that he had a chance to hold him off.
"Once I came off the last corner, I looked in my mirrors and saw them side by side and it was like the most perfect sight I had ever seen in my life," continued AJ on that last lap. "I just knew I needed one perfect lap there."
After being suspended from NASCAR last season and returning after undergoing a rehab program, Allmendinger is not going to ever forget this day.
"It's just a memorable day to go out there and remember everything that just happened, and I hope I win a lot more, but if I don't, to be able to remember it like this, it's pretty awesome," replied AJ on his road back to the top.
The win places JGR's single car team into the CHASE and their never give up attitude gives them hope of greater things to come.
"When it comes to the Chase, with the new format it doesn't mean we can't show up to Chicago and get hot early," observed AJ on his CHASE chances. "The way the format is laid out, you don't have to be amazing for 10 races, you just have to be good enough each three sets of races. The next thing you know you get to Homestead, anything can happen."
It will be an uphill climb for the No. 47 team in the CHASE but, if they continue to recite those famous words, "I think I can, I think I can," uttered by Thomas the Train, they could surprise a lot of folks.