CONCORD, N.C. -- In a Brickyard 400 that went to double overtime, the four Hendrick Motorsports cars avoided several multiple-car incidents and all finished inside the top 18.
Jimmie Johnson led the way in third, giving the organization its 1,000th top-five finish since the team was founded by Rick Hendrick in 1984.
Let's take a look at what we learned at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
JOHNSON PROUD TO BOUNCE BACK
Early in Sunday's race, Johnson had worked his way into the top five from a 13th-place starting position.
"I think we were definitely a top-five car," he said. "I got into the top five and then I got caught speeding on pit road."
When he made a green-flag pit stop on Lap 85, he received the penalty and it put him outside the top 20 when he returned to the track, and he eventually fell a lap down.
But the driver credited his No. 48 teammates for keeping their heads down and working hard.
And the hard work paid off when Johnson was able to take a wave around to move back onto the lead lap with 40 laps remaining.
"It says a lot," he said. "We’ve been working really hard to get our cars where they need to be. We’re still not happy, but we’re getting closer. I’m very proud of the effort today. Unfortunately a mistake on my part in that second segment, trying to get in the pits I got dinged for speeding and then rallied from like 24th back."
By the time the checkered flag waved, he had raced all the way to third place.
"I knew I had a good race car," he said. "We're sitting there on new tires compared to the leaders, and those restarts really worked in our favor, and I was able to get up to third there at the end."
"I’m just very proud of this race team and everybody at Hendrick Motorsports and I’m very proud to run this red car and represent all the men and women who work in Lowe’s stores all around the country."
GORDON ENJOYS CHALLENGE
Jeff Gordon, filling in for Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS, said the No. 88 team made his job easier throughout the race.
"They did an excellent job," he said. "(No. 88 team crew chief) Greg (Ives) made an awesome call to come in early that one time and that put us up there in 12th. We had a car that was capable of being up there. I just wish I was better on those restarts."
The green-flag pit stop early in the window before the midway point of the race allowed him to jump from 20th to 12th when the field had cycled through.
He found the top 10 just before a caution flag waved on Lap 120 and ultimately took the checkered flag 13th in double overtime, avoiding several multiple-car incidents along the way.
"The goal here today was not just to get a good finish, but to get points," Gordon explained. "Those are important. When you see all that chaos going on around you, you are trying to balance being aggressive, and being cautious. That last restart, my car felt pretty good and I was actually able to make a couple of moves."
Overall, he said he was glad to have made it through his first race back in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car since last season's finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
"I enjoyed moments," he said, noting that it was especially fun when the early pit stop improved his position. "This is a challenging, challenging racetrack. Really hard to get all four corners. There were moments of fun. I didn’t want to see those restarts. I’m horrible on restarts. So those didn’t help us any, but I got a few back on that last one.”
KAHNE EARNS LATE FREE PASS
From a 26th-place starting position Sunday at Indianapolis, Kasey Kahne was able to gain nine positions within the first 13 laps.
But with track position at a premium and the race staying green for long stretches, he found himself battling a lap down late in the event.
"I was kind of back trying to get the lucky dog, which was discouraging -- we were in position to get it a couple of times, but then because of where the cautions came out we weren’t in position at that time," Kahne said. "We finally got it at the end."
Back on the lead lap in double overtime, he was able to gain one extra position on the restart to finish 18th.
"We had pretty good restarts throughout the race, but just real tight and we never really could get it out of it except after the tires would wear out and it would free up just off tires getting hotter," he explained. "We were just tight all day.”