DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A mid-race incident in Saturday night’s race at Daytona International Speedway impacted the nights of all four Hendrick Motorsports drivers.
A tame first half of the race saw the drivers all over the board, with all four racing inside the top 10 at various points. Chase Elliott and Jimmie Johnson both made it inside the top five before an incident on Lap 90, in which all four of the organization’s drivers got caught up in.
Johnson’s Chevrolet received too much damage to continue racing, while Kasey Kahne, Elliott and Dale Earnhardt Jr. were able to return to the track to complete the race.
“Unfortunately we were getting in the corner, and obviously, everything is going to go straight at that point,” Elliott said following the incident. “I hate it. I had such a good car tonight. I felt like by far that was the best-ever plate car I have ever had at either Daytona or Talladega. So, really proud of that.”
“We were trying to race hard and we all wanted to be at the front but the only way you could advance was by being aggressive and trying to make a third lane work,” Johnson said.
Brad Keselowski took home the win.
Take a look below to see how all four Hendrick Motorsports drivers fared Saturday at Daytona International Speedway.
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 GREAT CLIPS STRONG AGAINST CANCER CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: After rolling off the grid in 18th, Kasey Kahne held steady throughout the opening laps of the race, finding himself the front Hendrick Motorsports runner in 13th with 10 laps down. Following a Lap 20 competition caution, Kahne continued charging toward the front, breaking inside the top five on Lap 41. He fell back to just within the top 10 before green flag pit stops began on Lap 66, after which Kahne was running in 10th. Lap 90 brought the first non-scheduled caution of the race for an incident that caused damage to the Kahne’s No. 5 Great Clips Strong Against Cancer Chevrolet SS. Kahne took his car to the garage, where his team made repairs to the Chevy, enabling him to return to the track on Lap 130. He took the checkered flag in 30th.
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 24 SUNENERGY1 CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Returning to Daytona with a different car than he’s raced at the two previous restrictor plate races this year, Chase Elliott fell outside the top 30 in the first 10 laps of the race. While his running position fluctuated at the back of the field throughout the first 50 laps of the race, Elliott found himself racing inside the top 10 on Lap 52. However, the young rookie fell back to just within the top 20 until after the first round of green flag pit stops, when he was running in the fourth position. Unfortunately, an incident that brought out the caution on Lap 90 sent Elliott to the garage for timely repairs. He rejoined the field at Lap 132, running a competitive pace and was ultimately scored 32nd when the checkered flag waved.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S PATRIOTIC CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Leading his teammates to the green flag in eighth, Jimmie Johnson fell outside the top 15 in the early stages of the 160-lap race. After pitting twice during the competition caution at Lap 20 in order to fix a hole on the grill of his No. 48 Chevrolet SS, the Lowe’s Patriotic team was served a penalty for too many men over the wall and restarted at the back of the field. Johnson regrouped following the penalty and drove his way inside the top five after the 50-lap mark. While racing for position, Johnson was jostled back through the pack and was running just outside the top 10 when the Lap-90, multi-car incident landed his Chevrolet in the garage for the remainder of the night. He was scored with a 35th-place finish.
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 NATIONWIDE CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Dale Earnhardt Jr. took the green flag in 16th and with 10 laps down was running just inside the top 30. He charged forward, moving into 18th on Lap 29 and was up to sixth about 16 laps later. Following the first round of green flag pit stops on Lap 66, Earnhardt was racing in the 22nd position and had just made it inside the top 20 when the incident that ended his teammate’s nights occurred on Lap 90. Earnhardt’s No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS sustained damage, which the team worked on through multiple pit stops under caution. Earnhardt restarted in 16th with 59 laps remaining and continued racing in the middle of the field, ultimately taking the checkered flag in 21st.