Elliott’s third consecutive runner-up Michigan finish
Chase Elliott’s second-place finish this past weekend marked his third consecutive runner-up finish at Michigan in just his third career NASCAR Cup Series race at the track.
After rolling off the grid in 10th, Elliott and the No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet SS team used pit road strategy and late-race restarts to earn the finish, leading his teammates to the checkered flag. The second-place result also marked Elliott’s fifth top-five finish of the 2017 season thus far.
The team’s successful late restarts helped Elliott jump the eight positions from his starting place, ensuring a strong finish.
“It was all just about how your push went,” Elliott explained. “I thought we improved from where we were last year as far as those late-race restarts go. We were able to hang with them and really just kind of rely on the guy behind you.”
Late restarts result in top-10s for Johnson and Earnhardt
Teammates Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson also used the late restarts to their advantage. Earnhardt took the checkered flag ninth, while Johnson walked away with a 10th-place finish.
Earnhardt started the race in 17th, and was running 19th before one of the last restarts gave him the boost he needed to break into the top 10. The ninth-place finish marked his third top-10 of the season.
“We had a great car,” Earnhardt said. “Just a hard time getting any track position and keeping it. Got lucky there at the end to restart on the outside in 18th and got a bunch of spots there the last few laps to finish in the top 10.”
Johnson started from the rear of the field after switching to a backup car. However, he and the No. 48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS team had little problem working their way up through the field throughout the race, ultimately earning a top-10 result.
“Just getting inside the top 10, the cars are so equal on pace,” Johnson said. “Unfortunately, we went to the back. I think if we would have started further forward it would have been a little better day for us.”