SONOMA, Calif. – After an eventful day of road course racing, Hendrick Motorsports left Sonoma Raceway with two top-10 finishes.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. led the way for the organization Sunday, taking the checkered flag in sixth.
Just behind him was Chase Elliott, who earned an eighth-place result.
Jimmie Johnson fell just outside of the top 10 in the closing laps and finished 13th after earning his first segment win of the season in Stage 2.
Kasey Kahne made contact with the wall on the final lap and was scored 24th.
Kevin Harvick won the race.
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 WINDOWS 10 CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Kahne began Sunday’s race in 21st, and by the end of Stage 1 he was up to ninth. He stayed on the verge of the top 10 in Stage 2, finishing 12th. Just as he did not pit between Stages 1 and 2, Kahne did not head to pit road prior to the final segment, allowing him to start in sixth. On Lap 65, the No. 5 team made a scheduled stop for four tires, fuel and adjustments. Back on the track, he pushed back into the top 20 with less than 30 laps to go. He headed back to pit road for another scheduled stop with 18 laps remaining and found himself in 26th as the first car a lap down. With 10 laps to go, he raced his way back onto the lead lap in 25th. On the lead lap, Kahne began pushing forward once again, gaining a handful of positions until the final lap, when he made contact with the wall. He was scored 24th.
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 24 KELLEY BLUE BOOK CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Rolling off the grid eighth in a backup car, Elliott finished Stage 1 in 11th. He moved inside the top 10 for the finish of Stage 2, when he earned a ninth-place result. Before the final segment began, Elliott made an extra pit stop to repair right-front damage, but pushed his way back toward the top 20. He found 15th with 41 laps remaining, and moved all the way into the top five as competitors made green-flag pit stops. He settled into third place, which he held until heading to pit road with less than 30 laps remaining. Less than 10 laps later, he was back inside the top 15. And with 17 laps remaining he was inside the top 10. With four laps to go, he jumped into the top five as he continued his push toward the front. When the checkered flag waved, Elliott earned an eighth-place result.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Johnson took Sunday’s green flag in 24th, worked his way inside the top 10 and finished Stage 1 26th after pitting just prior to the end of the segment. He quickly got to work in Stage 2, taking the race lead with 10 laps to go in the segment and holding on to earn his first stage win of the year. After heading to pit road, he began the final segment in 22nd. By the time there were 48 laps remaining, Johnson was back inside the top 15. Just seven laps later, he was all the way back up to seventh before heading to pit road a lap later. After returning to the track, Johnson continued to move forward, re-entering the top 10 with 32 laps to go. With 20 laps remaining, he moved into fifth. He held onto his top-10 position as the laps wound down, settling into ninth with four laps remaining. He ultimately took the checkered flag 13th.
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 AXALTA CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Starting Sunday’s race inside the top 10, Earnhardt was running inside the top 10 when he locked his brakes battling with a competitor in Stage 1. After two pit stops – one of which saw him penalized for speeding – he finished Stage 1 in 36th. From the green-checkered flag for Stage 1 to the finish of Stage 2, he picked up 30 positions, crossing the line to finish the second segment in sixth. He did not pit before the final segment, restarting second. He maintained that position until there were 50 laps to go, but even as competitors began to pass him, he held onto a top-10 position until heading to pit road with 42 laps to go. When he returned to the track, he continued his push forward, moving back inside the top 10 with less than 30 laps to go. After a trip to pit road with 15 laps remaining, Earnhardt drove back into the top 15 with 10 laps to go. With less than 10 laps to go, he moved back inside the top 10, and he crossed the finish line sixth.