CONCORD, N.C. -- Chase Elliott will be racing for a championship next week at Phoenix Raceway after he rallied to take the checkered flag at Martinsville Speedway Sunday night.
Not only is it Elliott's first time making it to the Championship 4 but it's his first win at Martinsville. The driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE was on cloud nine after he won the race.
"This is the biggest win ever for us," Elliott said. I’m just so proud to be able to be backed into a corner like that and have to win (Sunday). I feel like that’s what we’ve been missing these past four or five years and (performing) when we don’t have a choice. To do that (Sunday); we couldn’t ask for a better night. This is unreal."
Alex Bowman earned his fourth top-10 finish in a row after he placed sixth. Jimmie Johnson finished in 30th and William Byron placed 35th after he was involved in an accident halfway through Stage 3.
Take a look below to see how the final race in the Round of 8 ended up 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 eighth and edged to sixth within the first nine laps. He moved past teammate Alex Bowman by lap 25 to secure fifth place and was in fourth by lap 30.
- He jumped to second by the 50th lap and was there when the competition caution came out. Elliott refueled and got new tires, returning to the track in the same spot.
- On the 89th lap Elliott took the lead. He kept that through the third caution of the race since he decided to stay out on the track. Elliott fell to second by lap 114 and was passed by Bowman with five to go in the stage. He placed fourth in Stage 1.
- Elliott began Stage 2 in sixth after he pitted. He quickly moved to third by lap 145 before the sixth caution fell on lap 147. Elliott was second right after the restart on lap 158 and five laps later he retook the lead. He remained out front until another caution fell on lap 2016 and he opted to pit, eventually returning in 16th.
- The 24-year-old driver was up to seventh on lap 227 behind teammates William Byron and Bowman. Two laps later, he jumped them both for fifth. It only took eight laps for Elliott to reach second. He retook the lead again on lap 240 and kept the top spot through the end of Stage 2.
- Stage 3 saw Elliott slip to second for less than a lap, then reclaim the lead. He remained in the top spot as the 10th yellow flag waved on lap 352.
- Elliott restarted in fifth and quickly moved into third. He fell to fourth right before a caution fell with 100 laps to go. He was slower off pit road and restarted in ninth.
- Elliott moved up to sixth with 86 laps left. Nine laps later, he jumped to fourth and took third by lap 435. Another caution allowed him to restart in fourth after one car stayed out.
- He went three wide to jump to second. Yet again, Elliott took the lead with 43 laps left. He held on and surged ahead to win for the first time at Martinsville and earned a berth in the Championship 4.
WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 LIBERTY UNIVERSITY CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1 1LE
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Byron started the race in 13th and dropped to 14th within the first couple of laps. However, he moved into 12th by lap 39. He moved up another spot to 11th by lap 55 and was in that spot when the competition caution came out.
- The 22-year-old driver was in the same spot when the race resumed. He immediately jumped to 10th and moved to ninth by lap 72. However, he slipped to 11th when the second yellow flag dropped on the 74th lap.
- A third and fourth caution allowed Byron to move up to seventh. Byron dropped a spot to eighth right before the end of the first stage.
- He started the second stage in 14th. Byron moved to 11th by lap 167 and broke into the top 10 in ninth several laps later. When another caution dropped on lap 2016, he was riding in 11th. Byron stayed out under caution, moving into sixth.
- After teammate Chase Elliott passed him on lap 229, Byron was in seventh. He slipped down the leaderboard and placed 14th for Stage 2.
- Stage 3 saw Byron in 12th. He was back in the top 10 five laps later but dropped a spot to 11th by the time the 10th caution came out on lap 352. Byron was in eighth several laps into the restart and was tabbed in ninth when a caution dropped with 100 laps to go.
- The driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE was in eighth for the restart but quickly fell to 15th with 83 to go. Byron was in 14th when he was rear ended, ending his evening. He placed 35th.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 ALLY CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1 1LE
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Johnson began his last race in Martinsville in 27th. He moved to 25th in the first 10 laps and was in that position for the competition caution on lap 60. He took several adjustments on pit road and returned to the track in 25th.
- Johnson moved to 21st when an accident occurred on the 74th lap, bringing out the second yellow flag of the race. He moved into 18th several laps later.
- After a third caution and restart, Johnson surged to 12th. He jumped to 11th after the fourth yellow flag and moved into 10th before the end of Stage 1.
- Johnson kicked off Stage 2 in the same spot. Fifty laps into the second stage saw Johnson in eighth. He would have moved up to sixth after he pitted under caution, but Johnson was penalized for speeding on pit road, pushing him back to 28th.
- He stayed out when a caution fell on lap 216, allowing Johnson to move into 15th. However, older tires caused him to fall back to 28th less than 20 laps later. He was in 28th at the conclusion of Stage 2.
- Johnson started off Stage 3 in 27th and he quickly edged to 26th. He was up to 22nd on lap 298 but a left-rear tire went down for the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet on lap 321, pushing him back to 32nd.
- Johnson edged to 29th by lap 361. He was unable to move up after being two laps down and placed 30th.
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 PLANTERS CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1 1LE
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Bowman led all Hendrick Motorsports drivers with a third-place start. He fell to fifth within five laps and soon teammate Chase Elliott passed him for the spot.
By the competition yellow flag, Bowman was in 10th. His pit crew was stellar after he got fresh tires and Bowman came off pit road in fifth.
- He was in sixth by lap 70. A caution came out on lap 104, which allowed Bowman to pit. He restarted in ninth and quickly jumped to fifth. Bowman was in fourth when another caution dropped, moving into third behind Elliott after the restart.
- He leapfrogged Elliott for second and with five laps left in Stage 1, finishing in that spot.
- Stage 2 began with Bowman in 13th. He was 11th when the sixth yellow flag waved and dropped to 12th by lap 167. However, he quickly jumped to 10th 48 laps into Stage 2.
- Bowman was in seventh by lap 193 after he pitted under caution. He moved to fifth two laps later and stayed out when another caution fell, keeping him in fifth. Elliott passed him on lap 229, pushing Bowman to sixth. He was ninth by the end of the second stage.
- Bowman moved up to seventh for the beginning of Stage 3. He dropped to eighth before the 300th lap and was in ninth 50 laps later. A yellow flag allowed Bowman to restart in sixth. Bowman was in seventh by lap 370 and stayed in that position until another caution waved 31 laps later.
- The driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE moved up to fourth for the restart. With 86 laps to go, Bowman fell to seventh. He restarted in sixth with 52 laps to go and jumped to fourth with 50 laps left.
- Bowman tailed the third-place driver but slipped to fifth with 34 to go in the race. He moved back and forth between fourth and fifth, eventually placing sixth and earning his fourth top-10 finish in a row.