TALLADEGA, Ala. – Chase Elliott led his teammates to the checkered flag Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway in a race where he led nine laps, but it wasn’t enough.
Elliott finished 12th, missing out on advancing to the Round of 8 in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
"Just tried to be as aggressive as we could to try to make stuff happen," Elliott said. "It's tough to do as you get back in the pack and try to make your way forward. It just takes time, and definitely a lot of power in numbers. Disappointed we came up short."
Next of the Hendrick Motorsports drivers to the finish line was Jimmie Johnson in 23rd. On the strength of his win at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Johnson advanced to the third round of the postseason.
Kasey Kahne and Alex Bowman, both of whom were involved in late-race incidents that sent them to pit road, finished 35th and 36th, respectively.
Joey Logano took home the victory.
Below is a detailed look at how Sunday played out for the four Hendrick Motorsports drivers.
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 UNIFIRST CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Starting 27th, Kahne settled into 33rd early in Sunday’s race and remained there until green-flag pit stops began on Lap 37. Following a caution shortly thereafter, Kahne restarted 30th and began making his way through the pack. On Lap 53 he had moved up to 18th, and five laps later he was knocking on the door of the top 10. By Lap 60 he was all the way up to seventh before falling back outside of the top 10 on Lap 75 as the back-and-forth nature of the Talladega race took over. At the midway point of the race, he was back up to 13th, though he fell outside of the top 15 shortly thereafter. Kahne continued to battle as competitors tried to form a second line to move up toward the leaders, and he found himself in 22nd with 20 laps to go. With 12 laps remaining, he was back inside the top 15, but with seven laps to go the No. 5 UniFirst Chevrolet SS spun, forcing a caution and sending Kahne to pit road. He finished 35th.
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Elliott began the Round of 12 finale from the fourth position, and early in the race he took over as the line leader on the outside of the racetrack, racing as high as second. On Lap 27, he took the lead for the first time, battling back and forth between first nad second until the first round of green-flag pit stops on Lap 38. Following a caution shortly thereafter, Elliott restarted seventh and quickly moved back to the runner-up position before finding the lead once again on Lap 63. He lost the lead before finding it again on Lap 77 as the back-and-forth battle for to be the leader of the pack continued. On Lap 81, Elliott made his second green-flag pit stop, taking four tires and fuel and returning to the track to find himself in fifth at the midway point of the race. He continued battling inside the top 10 through another caution on Lap 114, but fell back to 15th on Lap 135. Through two more cautions in rapid succession, he was back inside the top 10 with less than 40 laps to go. He continued to attempt to form a line with momentum on the outside of the track to push toward the leaders, and was 12th with 20 laps to go. With 12 to go he was back in the top 10, and through two more restarts – including the final one as the race went to overtime – Elliott was not able to make a push back to the front, finishing 12th.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S PROSERVICES CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Rolling off the grid 17th, Johnson set out to move toward the front of the pack early in Sunday’s race. By Lap 30, he was inside the top 10 in eighth, and seven laps later he had moved up to fourth before a round of green-flag pit stops. Following a caution, he restarted eighth and jumped back inside the top five by Lap 54. He continued to battle inside of the top 10 and at the midway point of the race he was running 10th. As the race moved to a single-file format, Johnson began to jump out of line to the inside of the track, looking to gain positions. Following another caution on Lap 114, Johnson restarted 13th, sandwiched between two Hendrick Motorsports teammates. He fell outside of the top 15 shortly thereafter, and with less than 40 laps to go, following two cautions in rapid succession, he jumped back inside the top 20. As Elliott continued to try to form a line on the outside of the track with momentum to catch the leaders, Johnson settled in behind his teammate. He found himself 15th with 17 laps to go. Through two more restarts – including the final one as the race went to overtime – Johnson fell outside of the top 20 and finished 23rd.
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 MTN DEW TAKE IT OUTSIDE CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Bowman started Sunday’s race 19th, and early in the event he worked hard to jump into the top 15. By Lap 30, he was knocking on the door of the top 10 in 11th, but the top 10 eluded him. Following a cycle of green-flag pit stops and a caution when he headed back to pit road, Bowman restarted outside of the top 30 on Lap 48. But he quickly got to work, moving all the way into the top 10 on Lap 60, settling into ninth place. At the midway point of the race he was back in 21st as he battled for position, and on Lap 112 he had raced his way to eighth. He cracked the top five on Lap 135, leading the Hendrick Motorsports teammates at the time in fifth. That is where he remained for a restart with less than 40 laps remaining, and with 33 to go he pushed all the way up to third, where he settled in as the leaders formed a single-file line. After a caution with seven laps to go, Bowman the No. 88 Mtn Dew Take It Outside Chevrolet SS spun, sending Bowman to pit road and the race to overtime. He finished 36th.