BROOKLYN, Mich. – Sunday at Michigan International Speedway turned into a fuel-mileage race as the laps wound down in the final segment, and Hendrick Motorsports’ execution led to three top-10 finishes for the organization.
William Byron led his teammates to the checkered flag in eighth place, notching the eighth top-10 finish of his sophomore season after earning four in all of 2018.
He was followed to the finish line by Chase Elliott in ninth, giving the driver of the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 seven top-10s in eight career starts at Michigan.
Alex Bowman rounded out the top 10 with a 10th-place result, which tied his career-best finish at the track and gave him a pair of 10th-place finishes at Michigan this year.
After the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 made contact with the wall early in the race, Jimmie Johnson took the checkered flag in 34th.
Kevin Harvick took home the win.
Below is a closer look at how the four Hendrick Motorsports teams fared Sunday at Michigan.
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- After qualifying sixth, Elliott began Sunday’s race able to maintain his position until Lap 36, when he made his way to pit road under green for right-side tires, fuel and chassis adjustments. As the final laps of the stage wound down, Elliott was able to keep his top-10 position and finish Stage 1 in ninth to gain two additional points.
- The No. 9 received four tires and fuel during the stage break, Elliott took the green flag for the second segment in 15th. He ran inside the top 15 for majority of the stage until heading to pit road for a green-flag stop for fuel only. When a caution came out at the end of the stage, the NAPA Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 stayed out and restarted sixth. He held that spot through the green-checkered flag to earn five extra points.
- After restarting 18th for the final segment, Elliott quickly made his way up to 11th. When a caution flag waved, the driver of the No. 9 stayed on the track, running 10th. Under another caution, the No. 9 car was given four tires and fuel in a quick stop on pit road to put Elliott ninth on the restart. With 35 laps left in the race, he started to save fuel.
- As the race wound down, Elliott was determined to get a strong finish. By Lap 183 he was just shy of the top five in sixth as he continued to save fuel to make it to the finish line. When the checkered flag waved, the No. 9 had fallen in position but was able to grab a top-10 finish of ninth.
WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 LIBERTY UNIVERSITY CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Byron started Sunday’s race from the second row after qualifying third. He maintained a top-10 position until heading to pit road along with the majority of the field under green for right-side tires and fuel. He finished the opening stage in fifth, earning six extra points.
- After left-side tires and fuel, the No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 was able to get off pit road quickly, restarting fourth for Stage 2. The driver fell back to 12th and after reporting his car was feeling free, he spent the second half of Stage 2 trying to make up position. As drivers began to make green-flag stops, Byron advanced to fifth before bringing the No. 24 Liberty Chevy to pit road for four tires and fuel. After returning to the track, he raced his way to an eighth-place finish in Stage 2, earning three extra points.
- The final segment started with No. 24 team crew chief Chad Knaus relaying for Byron to save fuel during the break. The driver made his way up to third, tracking down the leaders while continuing to save fuel. Under caution he made a quick pit stop and was back on the track in 11th. Quickly making moves before the checkered flag waved, Byron was able to climb back inside the top 10 and capture an eighth-place finish.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 ALLY CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Johnson began Sunday’s 400-mile event in 10th. Just 15 laps in, the driver of the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 headed to pit road after contact with the wall resulted in a flat tire. He returned to the track two laps down. On Lap 26, Johnson headed back to pit road for more adjustments after his earlier damage, putting him seven laps down. Ultimately, he finished the first stage in 38th.
- Between segments, the No. 48 team worked to fix damage from the earlier incident. On Lap 64, the crew gave the No. 48 Ally Chevy new tires and fuel as Johnson worked to make up position. Fighting hard during the stage, Johnson finished 37th in Stage 2 multiple laps down.
- Still looking to make improvements on his position, Johnson worked to make gains in the final segment of the race. He pitted under caution on Lap 134 for fuel only, and on Lap 148 he reported the car was handling better as he was running in 36th. On Lap 188, the team made its final pit stop for fuel only and Johnson proceeded to race his way to a 34th-place finish.
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 AXALTA CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- After qualifying right behind his teammate Byron, the driver of the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 started Sunday’s race in fourth. He maintained a top-10 position for most of the opening segment until Lap 44 saw the No. 88 machine along with a majority of the field headed to pit road under green for right-side tires and fuel. Bowman was able to hold his position and finished Stage 1 in eighth, earning three extra points.
- After taking the restart for Stage 2 in third, Bowman reported his car was “more on the free side, especially in Turns 1 and 2.” Regardless, he continued to run in the top five until heading to pit road. Battling the handling of his No. 88 Chevy, he ultimately finished Stage 2 in 19th.
- Beginning the final segment in 13th, a caution on Lap 131 brought Bowman’s Chevy to pit road for four tires and fuel before another caution on Lap 136 saw the driver stay on the track in 18th. He climbed back up to 13th before the next caution, when he headed to pit road for fuel only. He advanced to sixth by Lap 153, but began to save fuel in order to make it to the finish line. Using that strategy, the driver started to fall back to 13th once again. As the race came to a close, however, Bowman moved back inside the top 10 and took the checkered flag in 10th.