WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – In a race that featured eight caution flags and two red flags, Chase Elliott avoided the incidents to lead his Hendrick Motorsports teammates to the checkered flag.
He drove the No. 24 SunEnergy1 Chevrolet SS to a 13th-place finish Sunday afternoon at Watkins Glen International.
Just behind him was Jeff Gordon, who in his 800th career NASCAR Cup Series start drove the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS to a 14th-place result.
Kasey Kahne also finished inside the top 20, taking the checkered flag in 20th.
Jimmie Johnson was involved in a multiple-car incident just past the midway point of the race, which ended his day prematurely. He was scored 40th.
“Unfortunate for the Jimmie Johnson Foundation car,” Johnson said. “Big thank you once again to Lowe’s for letting us run that paint scheme on the car.”
Denny Hamlin took home the victory.
Below is a detailed look at how the Hendrick Motorsports teammates fared at Watkins Glen.
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 GREAT CLIPS CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Kahne rolled off the grid 23rd Sunday afternoon, and he spent the first portion of the race looking to break into the top 20. When he headed to pit road during a caution on Lap 12, however, the No. 5 team received a pit road penalty, causing him to restart in 30th on Lap 17. He headed to pit road once again a few laps later for fuel and fell back to 32nd. But with many teams using different pit road strategies, it didn’t take long for Kahne to make up the positions. He was inside the top 20 by Lap 47, and he found the top 15 six laps later before the race was halted by a red flag. He headed to pit road when the red flag was lifted and changed to a yellow, and he restarted 18th when the race went green on Lap 56. He remained in the top 20 when another caution flag flew for debris on Lap 65. He continued to maintain that 20th-place position all the way to a restart with 10 laps to go. Before yet another caution was called shortly thereafter, he fell to 23rd. Following the second red flag of the race, he took the green with four laps to go in 20th, and that is where he would finish.
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 24 SUNENERGY1 CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Elliott began Sunday’s race from the 16th position, and by Lap 17 he had moved into the top 15. That became the top 10 on Lap 26 just before he headed to pit road for a green-flag stop. He found himself back in 19th 10 laps later after he had returned to the track, but he continued to work his way through the field. Just past the midway point of the race, Elliot was back inside the top 15 and when a caution flag flew on Lap 48 he was once again in the top 10. With many teams using different pit strategies, even though Elliott was ninth in the race off of pit road during the caution, he restarted outside of the top 10 – but still inside the top 15. Following a red flag due to a multiple-car incident, Elliott headed to pit road during the ensuing caution and restarted 13th on Lap 56. He continued to race inside the top 15 until a caution flag waved with 14 laps remaining, when he fell just outside of it in 16th. Following the second red flag of the race, he took the green with four laps remaining in 18th, gaining five spots before the checkered flag waved. He finished 13th.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 JIMMIE JOHNSON FOUNDATION CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Starting 13th, Johnson maintained that position 17 laps into the race. When he headed to pit road shortly thereafter, however, the No. 48 team was given a pit road penalty, forcing Johnson to make a pass-through. When the team topped off the No. 48 Jimmie Johnson Foundation Chevrolet SS with fuel during the pass-through, it was determined that Johnson was required to make a second pass-through. That put him one lap behind the leaders in 38th on Lap 24. By Lap 41, however, he had raced his way to pass the race leader, regaining the lap on his own. From there, he got to work, entering the top 35 past the halfway point of the race. But on Lap 53, Johnson was involved in a multiple-car incident that caused a red flag on the track. The damage ended Johnson’s day. “I really hit the car hard,” Johnson said. “Thankfully he’s OK and everybody’s alright.” He was scored 40th.
JEFF GORDON, NO. 88 AXALTA CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Gordon took the green flag in 21st for his 800th career NASCAR Cup Series start, but early in the race contact with a competitor caused damage to the front of the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS. When a caution flag flew for debris on Lap 12, Gordon got a chance to head to pit road for repairs. He entered pit road before it was open to give the No. 88 team as much time as possible for repairs, so the ensuing penalty meant he restarted 40th. But with many teams on different pit strategies, Gordon had ample opportunity to regain position. By Lap 36, he was all the way up to the top 10. When a caution flag waved on Lap 48, Gordon headed to pit road once again and restarted 19th. That is where he would restart on Lap 56 following a red flag due to a multiple-car incident. Before another caution flag flew one lap later, he had already gained three positions. And when the race went green again on Lap 59, Gordon raced through the field once again, finding 11th within four laps. Gordon began to lose position and reported that his Chevy was lacking grip during the next green flag run, falling back to 17th before a caution flag flew with 14 laps remaining. Following the second red flag of the race, he took the green with four laps to go in 17th, gaining three more positions before the checkered flag to finish 14th.