CONCORD, N.C. -- William Byron continued his top-five streak and placed fifth at the Southern 500 Sunday night after a wild finish.
It marks the third race in a row Byron finished inside the top five and the fifth-place result is his best placement at Darlington. The driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE also cushioned his No. 9 playoff spot with the finish.
Teammate Alex Bowman finished right behind Byron in sixth, also padding his playoff points. Jimmie Johnson came in at 18th after contact in the second half of Stage 3 pushed him down the leaderboard. Chase Elliott was gunning for the win but was cut off by Martin Truex Jr. in the waning laps of the race, causing him to go from first all the way down to 20th.
"He was close but he wasn't all the way clear, obviously," Elliott said. "I hate it. Obviously, we had a fast NAPA Camaro - fast enough to contend ... but hey, (it's) par for the course here."
Kevin Harvick won the race.
Take a look below to see how Sunday's playoff race at Darlington shook out for the four Hendrick Motorsports drivers.
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1 1LE
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Elliott rolled off the grid in the pole position and stayed in first through the competition caution on lap 25.
- He came off pit road still leading the field and stayed out front until he decided to pit with 42 laps left in the first stage. Elliott quickly regained the top spot after the rest of the field pitted after him and he was still in first when an accident happened.
- Elliott decided to take four tires under yellow and was second coming off pit road, eventually restarted in third. By lap 91 Elliott moved into second but he fell to third 14 laps later after teammate Jimmie Johnson passed him. He finished Stage 1 in that spot.
- Elliott gained a position pitting between stages and came out under green in second. However, he fell to fourth 34 laps into the stage after he scraped the wall. He pitted with 59 to go in the stage and was 13th coming off pit road.
- The third yellow flag dropped while Elliott was in 12th place. He restarted under green in 14th and quickly jumped a position to 13th, finishing the stage in that spot.
- Elliott kicked off Stage 3 in 11th but soon fell down to 13th. He jumped over teammate William Byron to move into 12th nine laps into the stage. A restart with 117 laps to go allowed Elliott to move up to 11th.
- He surged to seventh and remained there until he decided to pit with 81 laps to go. Just nine laps later, Elliott was all the way up to second place.
- Debris brought out a caution and allowed Elliott to restart in first with 48 laps to go in the race. He lost the top spot, then Elliott and the leader made contact heading into a turn with 13 to go. Elliott lost the top spot and sustained damage, which caused him to tumble down the leaderboard. He placed 20th.
WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 LIBERTY UNIVERSITY CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1 1LE
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Byron started in third and slipped to fifth by the second lap. He was back in fourth 10 laps later and stayed in that spot through the competition caution.
- Byron pitted and lost two spots but gained them back after he took the lower lane via the choose rule. He fell back to sixth by lap 33 and edged up to fifth 30 laps later.
- After the first round of pit stops, Byron settled in fourth by the 77th lap and kept that spot when an accident brought out the second yellow flag. The driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE was in eighth for the restart and kept that position for the rest of Stage 1.
- Byron restarted Stage 2 in 10th but soon fell to 12th. Thirty laps later he edged up to 11th and was back in the top 10 47 laps into the stage. He scooted up to ninth by lap 170 but soon pitted with most of the leaders. Byron returned to the track in 12th.
- He was in 11th when the third yellow of the race was waived. He restarted in the same position but fell to 12th with 40 to go in the stage, which is how he placed in the stage.
- The 22-year-old driver began the final stage in 12th place. After a restart due to a yellow, he fell back to 19th. He pitted on lap 289 and returned to the track in 20th.
- After working his way through the field, Byron was in sixth by lap 312. He was riding in eighth when debris brought out another caution. With just 22 to go, he edged up to seventh.
- Byron was in fifth with eight laps to go and remained steady to earn a top-five finish.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 ALLY CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1 1LE
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Johnson began the race in 22nd and quickly moved to 15th within the first five laps. He edged to 12th by the 12th lap and moved into third eight laps later. Johnson slid up to 11th when the competition yellow was called.
- He was down to 12th when the race went under green again but quickly moved back into 11th. He burst into the top 10 and was riding in eighth by lap 34. Ten laps later, Johnson was driving directly behind teammates Alex Bowman and William Byron in seventh.
- On the 53rd lap, Johnson leapfrogged Bowman for sixth place. He then passed Byron and settled into the top five. During lap 65 Johnson moved up again to fourth and stayed there until he pitted with all the leading cars.
- Johnson returned to the track in fifth and was in that spot when a yellow flag dropped on lap 81. By lap 94 Johnson inched into third right behind Chase Elliott. Johnson passed Elliott for second with 10 to go in the first stage and kept that spot through the stage.
- The seven-time Cup Series champion kicked off Stage 2 in eighth due to a slower four-tire change time on pit road. He jumped to seventh quickly and by lap 136 was in sixth place.
- Johnson pitted halfway through the second stage and came back out in 15th. He soon cycled back into sixth place and quickly jumped to third. Under the third yellow flag of the race, Johnson restarted in third. He fell back to fourth, which is how he ended Stage 2.
- Johnson restarted in eighth after his rear quarter was tapped on pit road. He moved into seventh with 130 laps to go. Ten laps later, a caution allowed Johnson to restart in fourth.
- He was down to eighth by lap 251 and soon settled in ninth until he decided to pit with 82 laps to go and came out in 21st. He moved through the field and into 11th on lap 310 but slipped down to 15th when another yellow flag dropped with less than 50 less in the race.
- Johnson had contact before the caution, which caused him to fall back. He restarted in 19th with 41 laps left in the race and pushed up to 16th five laps later. Johnson was shuffled back in the closing laps of the race and finished in 18th.
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 CHEVYGOODS.COM/TRUCK HERO CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1 1LE
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Bowman kicked off the playoffs in fourth place and surged to second behind teammate Chase Elliott within the first lap. Twenty laps later, Bowman fell to third and stayed there through the competition caution.
- He gained a spot from the choose rule and restarted in second but lost two spots and soon fell to fifth. By lap 53 he was down to seventh after teammate Jimmie Johnson passed him. He pitted with most of the field and soon shuffled out to sixth place by lap 78.
- After racing resumed from the second yellow flag of the race, Bowman was in seventh. He moved up a spot to sixth and kept that position for the rest of the first stage.
- Bowman lost a spot between stages and began the second segment in seventh. He slipped back to eighth within the first lap but edged back up to seventh by lap 160. The driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE decided to pit halfway through Stage 2 and returned to the track in 20th.
- He cycled up to fourth a few laps later and was in fifth when a yellow flag was dropped. For the restart, Bowman was in sixth. He slid up to fifth within a lap and rode steady in that spot for the rest of the stage.
- Bowman moved up to fourth to kick off the final stage. A yellow flag was waved after another accident and Bowman pitted. However, a dropped jack pushed the 27-year-old driver back to 17th on the restart. Bowman moved up to 14th by lap 253 and decided to pit 35 laps later for tires and fuel.
- He returned to the track in 22nd. By the 300th lap Bowman was cruising in 14th. He pushed up to ninth by lap 309 restarted in 10th after a debris-related caution halted the race.
- With less than 10 laps left, Bowman pushed up to sixth place. He held on to cross the finish line in that position.