HOMESTEAD, Fla. – In Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Alex Bowman led the way for Hendrick Motorsports with a top-10 finish.
Bowman crossed the finish line in ninth, securing his career-best 12th top-10 result of the season. That topped his previous career mark of 11 top-10s in a season, which he earned in 2018.
Jimmie Johnson was the next Hendrick Motorsports driver to take the checkered flag in 13th, followed by Chase Elliott in 15th.
William Byron’s race was cut short in the final segment due to an oil pressure issue. He was scored with a 39th-place result.
Kyle Busch captured the win and the 2019 Cup Series championship in the process.
Below is a closer look at how Sunday’s season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway unfolded for the four Hendrick Motorsports drivers.
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Taking the green flag just outside the top 10 in 11th, Elliott couldn’t quite crack the top 10 in the Stage 1 Sunday. In the opening laps, he was shuffled back in traffic to 14th, and after a cycle of green-flag pit stops he was running 19th. Though he lost a lap to the leader, he recovered to gain two positions before the green-checkered flag to finish Stage 1 in 17th.
- Elliott advanced to 16th at the start of Stage 2, though he remained off of the lead lap. After a trip to pit road for a green-flag stop, he was running 17th once again on Lap 125. A late-stage caution allowed the No. 9 team to take a wave-around to get back on the lead lap, and down the stretch he picked up three more positions to finish Stage 2 in 14th.
- Beginning the final segment in 15th, Elliott fell outside of the top 20 before pushing back forward through traffic. After a quick green-flag pit stop by the No. 9 team, the driver cracked the top 10 as the field cycled through with 50 laps to go in the race, settling into ninth. With fewer than 30 laps remaining, Elliott headed to pit road for one more green-flag stop, taking four tires and fuel. He returned to the track in 19th off the lead lap. He gained four positions before the checkered flag waved to close the season with a 15th-place finish.
WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 AXALTA FLAMES OF INDEPENDENCE CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Starting the final race of the season in ninth, Byron teetered on the edge of the top 10 for much of Stage 1. Following a cycle of green-flag pit stops, he was running 10th on Lap 46. By Lap 75, he had advanced back up to ninth, and he improved by one position before the green-checkered flag waved to finish Stage 1 in eighth. The result earned him three extra points.
- Byron settled back into the top 10 in Stage 2, finding ninth on Lap 94 and running 10th on Lap 125 after a cycle of green-flag pit stops. Following a late-stage caution, Byron dropped to 11th on the restart and fell one more position before the end of the segment to finish Stage 2 in 12th.
- The final segment began with Byron in 17th, but he quickly made his way back toward the top 10, finding it on Lap 208. Following a cycle of green-flag pit stops, Byron looked to regain position when he reported that the No. 24 Axalta Flames of Independence Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 had an oil pressure issue. He headed to pit road while off the pace and fell multiple laps down while the team looked to assess the issue. Ultimately, it resulted in his day coming to an early end. He was scored 39th.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 ALLY CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Rolling off the grid 18th, Johnson steadily moved forward throughout the opening stage of Sunday’s race. By Lap 10 he had already found the top 10, and following a cycle of green-flag pit stops, the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 was running eighth. He lost one position down the stretch to finish Stage 1 in ninth and earn two extra points.
- Johnson’s forward momentum continued in Stage 2 as he raced up to sixth by Lap 93. Following another cycle of green-flag pit stops, the No. 48 Ally Chevy was up to fourth place on Lap 125, ahead of two of the Championship 4 competitors. After a late-stage caution, Johnson fell out of the top five on the restart but held on for a top-10 finish to Stage 2, taking the green-checkered flag in ninth for two extra points.
- Still in ninth as the final segment got underway, Johnson held on to a top-10 position, moving as high as sixth before making a green-flag pit stop. As the field cycled through stops, he was running 10th with 50 laps remaining in the race. He advanced to eighth five laps later and continued holding on to a top-10 position with fewer than 20 laps to go. With 12 remaining, however, he fell to 11th, and ultimately crossed the finish line in 13th.
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 NATIONWIDE CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Bowman began Sunday’s race in 12th and found the top 10 within the first two laps. From there, however, he was shuffled back in traffic to 15th on Lap 25, and after a cycle of green-flag pit stops he was running 18th on Lap 46. Losing a lap to the leader before the end of the segment, Bowman closed Stage 1 in 21st.
- He gained a few positions back early in Stage 2, moving into 17th on Lap 93. After heading to pit road for a green-flag stop, he settled into 18th on Lap 125, still off the lead lap. During a late-stage caution, the No. 88 team took a wave-around to move back onto the lead lap. Restarting 20th, Bowman would hold that position through the end of Stage 2.
- Starting the final segment in 21st, Bowman pushed toward the top 10 as midway point of the stage neared. He reached the top 10 as competitors headed to pit road for green-flag stops, then Bowman made a stop of his own. He returned to the track in 14th with 50 laps remaining in the race and got back to work racing through the field. On Lap 243, he moved into 10th and found ninth place four laps later. He held that position for the remainder of the race, crossing the finish line in ninth to close the season with a top-10 result.