CONCORD, N.C. – Sunday’s race in New Hampshire was nothing short of eventful for the Hendrick Motorsports drivers, who now are looking to build on the momentum created at “The Magic Mile” and chase down a checkered flag for this weekend’s doubleheader at Michigan.
Chase Elliott, who finished ninth in Sunday’s race, got caught in lap traffic late in the final stage and was unable to move inside the top five.
Taking a late-race risk and staying out while the leaders pitted under caution on lap 203 yielded a first-place restart on green. Another caution came out a couple of laps later, which caused Elliott to pit and fall back to 22nd.
“We were hoping to have a better finish,” Elliott said. “I felt like we were making some ground up there late in Stage 2 and at the start of the final stage. Then those guys got ahead of us when we stayed out and they pitted. That got us back in traffic and our drive off wasn’t good enough to drive back through the field like some of those other guys. Definitely not where we want to be, so we’ll keep working and trying to get it better.”
William Byron finished the race in 11th but found himself in the top five with 20 to go in Stage 2. Looking to keep himself in playoff contention, Byron needed a solid run at New Hampshire to bolster his chance at making the cut.
Byron pitted under the final caution and restarted in eighth. He quickly made a run into sixth but ended up falling out of the top 10.
“That was a hard-fought one for us,” Byron said. “We worked hard throughout the race to get the handling right and in the middle stage of the race we were pretty good. We were able to drive up to third and I was happy with that. After that, the car stopped turning and the handling went away towards the end. It was a typical New Hampshire race in the things you fight here handling-wise, which is good and bad, but we’ll take the solid finish and head to the Michigan doubleheader and have two really good races there.”
Alex Bowman started off the race in eighth place but fell out of the top 10 by the 12th lap of the race. His night was followed by a series of surges and falloffs through the field. Bowman went on to finish the night in 15th and said he looks forward to redemption at Michigan.
"We started off chattering the tires, which made the car difficult to drive,” Bowman said. “(Crew chief) Greg (Ives) and the guys made some big changes on the stops and got our Chevrolet a little better. A big thanks to my team and everyone back at the shop for their hard work every week. We will move on to Michigan for the doubleheader next week.”