TALLADEGA, Ala. – Monday at Talladega Superspeedway, the second race of the Round of 12 in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs came to a close after it started on Sunday.
The rain-delayed end of the race saw Chase Elliott lead his Hendrick Motorsports teammates to the finish line in eighth.
All three of his Hendrick Motorsports teammates had their races end early due to multiple-car incidents.
William Byron was scored with a 33rd-place result after damage from an incident with 25 laps to go in the race sent him to the garage.
“Just unfortunate for us,” Byron said. “We had a really good run going.”
The incident that ended the race for Alex Bowman and Jimmie Johnson happened late in Stage 2 of the race. Bowman was leading the field and attempting to block a big run when contact from a competitor caused him to spin and resulted in a multiple-car incident. Bowman, Jimmie Johnson and Elliott were all involved in the incident.
The resulting damage ultimately sent Bowman and Johnson to finishes of 37th and 38th, respectively, as they headed to the garage.
“I threw a block that I shouldn’t have blocked,” Bowman explained. “I knew the 22 was coming and just tried to move down just a little bit. As soon as he touched me it just turned us sideways and it went from there. He had a bigger run than I realized.”
From Johnson’s perspective, he said it was “just one of those plate-racing incidents – I hate it for Alex.”
“Talladega happens,” Bowman said.
Ryan Blaney captured the win.
Below is a closer look at how the race unfolded for the Hendrick Motorsports drivers from Sunday into Monday.
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA NIGHTVISION CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Starting Sunday’s race on the pole, Elliott fell out of the lead not long after the green flag waved due to the inside lane not generating a lot of momentum. Still, he remained inside the top 10 for the first 15 laps of the event but fell outside of the top 20 following a green-flag pit stop on Lap 35. Following another trip to pit road for fresh tires during a caution three laps later, Elliott used the outside lane to move all the way back up to the race lead with nine laps to go in Stage 1. He lost the lead once again, however, and fell back in traffic before the green-checkered flag waved. He finished the opening segment in 18th.
- Following a red flag for rain that postponed the remainder of the race to Monday, Elliott began Stage 2 in 15th after a trip to pit road. By Lap 65 he had advanced into the top five and even found his way into the race lead on multiple occasions as different lanes of traffic jostled for momentum. With four laps to go in the segment, however, Elliott was involved in a multiple-car incident that sent him to pit road multiple times for repairs. Stage 2 ended under caution and Elliott was credited with a 22nd-place finish.
- Quick work by the No. 9 team allowed Elliott to remain on the lead lap, starting the final segment in 23rd. He advanced into the top 20 by Lap 130, and moved inside the top 15 two laps later. By Lap 139, he raced up to fifth and moved into the runner-up position shortly thereafter before heading to pit road under caution. The No. 9 team elected to make a four-tire stop, putting him back in 14th for the ensuing restart.
- With 25 laps to go, Elliott was able to avoid another multiple-car incident to advance up to 11th, and he continued to battle toward the top 10 as the laps wound down. With six laps remaining, another multiple-car incident caused a red flag, but Elliott was able to avoid damage. When the race resumed, he took the green flag inside the top 10 and advanced to eighth before the checkered flag waved.
WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 AXALTA CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Taking the green flag in third, Byron was shuffled back in traffic by Lap 5, dropping to 14th. He found himself out of the top 20 following a green-flag pit stop on Lap 35, then headed back to pit road three laps later under caution for fresh tires. Restarting 26th, Byron used the outside lane to move all the way up to the race lead with five laps to go in the opening segment. He held off the competition for the remaining laps to win Stage 1. He picked up 10 valuable stage points and a playoff point for the result.
- Following a red flag for rain that postponed the remainder of the race to Monday, Byron began Stage 2 in the runner-up position as the car ahead of him elected to take only two tires on pit road. As different lanes of traffic battled for momentum, Byron was shuffled back outside of the top 20 before recovering to find the edge of the top 10 in 11th on Lap 97. With four laps to go in the stage, the No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 was able to avoid a multiple-car incident to advance to eighth as the segment ended under caution. He gained three extra points for the finish.
- Quick work by the No. 24 team on pit road between stages allowed Byron to take the green flag in third to start the final segment. On Lap 131 he was just outside of the top 10 in 12th, continuing to battle for position. He found the top 10 once again on Lap 145 and moved into third before heading to pit road under caution. The No. 24 team elected for a fuel-only stop, allowing Byron to return to the field as the leader for the ensuing green flag. Though he bounced back and forth in and out of the lead, he continued to run in the front of the inside lane with 25 laps to go, when contact from behind by a competitor caused him to spin up the track into traffic. The resulting multiple-car incident caused enough damage to the No. 24 Axalta Chevy to end Byron’s day early. He was scored with a 33rd-place finish.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 ALLY CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Starting the race in fourth, Johnson was shuffled outside of the top 10 by Lap 5. He found himself outside of the top 20 before making a green-flag pit stop, then headed back to pit road under caution three laps later for fresh tires. Restarting 21st on Lap 41, Johnson joined his teammates in the outside lane to advance through traffic until he was up to third with three laps to go in Stage 1. He held on down the stretch for a top-10 finish in the opening segment, taking the green-checkered flag in seventh to pick up four extra points.
- Following a red flag for rain that postponed the remainder of the race to Monday, Johnson took the green flag for Stage 2 inside the top 10 in 10th. Though he was shuffled in traffic back outside of the top 20, he quickly recovered to advance all the way into the race lead on Lap 97. But with four laps to go in the stage, he was caught in a multiple-car incident and the damage incurred by the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 was enough to end Johnson’s day. He was scored with a 38th-place finish.
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 NATIONWIDE AMAZON ECHO AUTO CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Rolling off the grid on the outside pole, Bowman was shuffled back with his teammates to the back of the top 10, settling into eighth on Lap 15. Following a green-flag pit stop and another trip to pit road under caution, the driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Amazon Echo Auto Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 lined up 18th for a restart on Lap 41. He then got in line with his teammates on the outside and raced all the way into the runner-up position with three laps remaining in Stage 1. He lost just one position in the battle to the line, finishing Stage 1 in third to pick up eight extra points.
- Following a red flag for rain that postponed the remainder of the race to Monday, Bowman started Stage 2 in third. While he was shuffled back outside of the top 15 briefly, he recovered to regain a top-five spot on Lap 73. Following a green-flag pit stop, he was back in third on Lap 97 and shortly thereafter was racing for the lead. He found it and paced the field until with four laps to go in the stage he attempted to block a run by a competitor behind him. Contact from the competitor sent Bowman spinning down the racetrack and resulted in a multiple-car incident that ultimately ended the No. 88 Nationwide Amazon Echo Auto team’s day prematurely. Bowman was scored with a 37th-place finish.