Yes, AJ Allmendinger only finished 10th, but no, your eyes weren't deceiving you during the first portion of Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Dover. Dinger was, in fact, the best car on the track.
Allmendinger took the lead from Jimmie Johnson on lap 14 and pulled away, only losing the lead briefly after pitting under green at lap 112.
After Dinger he back to the lead, he radioed to crew chief Mike Shiplett that the car had gotten horrible. Shiplett told him that there was still 20 laps before Allmendinger was scheduled to pit again. But Allmendinger had a cut right rear tire and had to pit before the rest of the field.
"The car was dialed in and just a stupid five-cent washer got inside the tire," Allmendinger said.
"I'm not sure when. It must have been right when we pitted and left the pits. As the run went on the car started freeing up and (Shiplett) said 'Twenty laps' and I'm like 'I'm not going to make it.' I knew something was wrong. I knew the right rear was going down and after that you're just fighting back the rest of the day."
Had the race stayed green, Dinger likely would have cycled back to the lead, but Matt Kenseth smoked his tires trying to get to pit road and blew his left front tire on lap 186, spraying debris all over the frontstretch, causing a caution.
That trapped Allmendinger a lap down, and although he was able to get the wavearound with half of the race still to go, he restarted back in 19th place and could never make up for the giant loss in track position.