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AJ Allmendinger is OK after cool suit failure: ‘You suck it up; a shot to win all that mattered’

INDIANAPOLIS -- AJ Allmendinger was evaluated and released from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway care center after his cool suit failed with about 20 laps remaining in Sunday’s Cup Series race.

After finishing seventh, Allmendinger climbed out of his No. 16 Chevrolet and took one unsteady step before falling forward against the pit wall, bracing himself with both hands (video above).

With his knees on the pavement, Allmendinger leaned against the wall for several minutes while being attended to by team members, safety workers and his wife, Tara.

Though a stretcher was brought to the car, Allmendinger was able to walk off under his own power to the care center, where he spent less than 30 minutes before being discharged.

After exiting the care center, Allmendinger told reporters the cool suit had failed from the outset of the race.

“It was hot from the start of the race, but the problem was by the time we figured it out, I still had the cooling shirt on, so it just made it even hotter in the car,” Allmendinger told the Associated Press and Fronstretch. “I was doing OK, but 20 (laps) to go, I ran out of water. The helmet blower was starting to feel hot as well, so just riding around under yellow makes it worse.

“During green, I can be OK. But you get heat-soaked in the car under yellow, and those last few laps were pretty brutal.”

He was in second beside race winner Tyler Reddick for the final restart but got shoved off course entering Turn 1 and made contact with Ryan Blaney while losing several spots.

Allmendinger led three laps in his bid for a second consecutive victory on the 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course that made its debut in NASCAR’s premier series last year.

“Once you get green, you suck it up, and we had a shot to win the race, so that’s all that mattered,” Allmendinger said. “The way Turn 1 is here, if you’re on the outside front on one of those late-race restarts, you’re just going to get run into; we saw it with Chase (Elliott) the start before, we saw it with Chase Briscoe last year. You just get shoved off the racetrack.

“So I figured I was going to get shoved off the racetack into 1 and just try to make the best of it and felt like we did. But at the end of the day, we gave ourselves a shot to win two in a row, and that was pretty bad ass.”

Allmendinger said his cool suit worked fine during Saturday’s Xfinity Series race.

Chris Buescher and Joey Logano, both of whose cars were involved in fires Sunday, also were evaluated and released at the care center after the race.