KANSAS CITY, Kan. – In an eventful race Sunday at Kansas Speedway, two Hendrick Motorsports teammates took home top-10 finishes, all four finished inside the top 15 and both drivers competing in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs advanced to the Round of 8.
Chase Elliott led the way with his fourth top-five finish in six postseason races, earning a fourth-place result and moving on to the next round of the playoffs.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. was next to take the checkered flag in seventh. Jimmie Johnson battled through two spins late in the race to narrowly miss the top 10 in 11th, joining Elliott in the next round.
Kasey Kahne crossed the finish line in 15th.
Martin Truex Jr. won the race.
Below is a closer look at how the four Hendrick Motorsports drivers fared Sunday at Kansas.
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 UNIFIRST CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: In his 500th NASCAR Cup Series start, Kahne rolled off the grid 21st, quickly moving all the way to 12th by the end of Stage 1. He fell back to 18th at the end of Stage 2, but began climbing once again in the final segment. He was penalized for speeding on pit road, however, which sent him back to 26th for a restart on Lap 180. The front of the No. 5 UniFirst Chevrolet SS took some damage in a multiple-car incident that brought out a red flag, but quick work on pit road allowed Kahne to return to the track still on the lead lap. He restarted 21st on Lap 205 but pressed forward once again. With 20 laps to go, he was back inside the top 15 in 15th, which is where he would finish.
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Elliott began Sunday’s race in 14th and picked up crucial points by finishing Stage 1 in seventh. He remained in the top 10 in ninth to earn more points at the end of Stage 2, and continued battling around the top 10 in the final segment. He raced up to fifth on Lap 187 just prior to a caution flag caused by teammate Johnson spinning into the infield. After two more cautions in quick succession – one of which brought out a red flag – Elliott was up to third. He moved up to second with less than 35 laps to go before a caution flag waved. Though he lost four positions on pit road, he worked his way back into the top five and was running fifth with 20 laps to go. He gained another position before the checkered flag, finishing fourth.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Taking the green flag in 12th, Johnson worked his way into the top 10 to finish Stage 1 in sixth, picking up important extra points. He earned another point by finishing 10th at the end of Stage 2, and he continued competing near the top 10 in the final segment. On Lap 188, Johnson was running 10th when he lost control of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS entering a turn, spinning into the infield. He avoided major damage, and quick work by the No. 48 team on pit road during the ensuing caution allowed Johnson to return to the track still on the lead lap in 26th. On the restart, however, Johnson spun out a second time. After more work on pit road, he restarted 28th on Lap 198, still on the lead lap. He avoided a multiple-car incident that brought out a red flag to jump all the way up to seventh, and he remained inside the top 10 with less than 60 laps to go. After another caution, Johnson settled into seventh with 20 laps to go. He fell back in the closing laps and narrowly missed out on a top-10 result, finishing 11th.
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 NATIONWIDE CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Earnhardt started Sunday’s race in 19th, moving up to 15th by the end of Stage 1. He gained two more spots to finish Stage 2 in 13th, and he continued to push toward the top 10 in the final segment. On Lap 187, he was up to 12th, then after three cautions in quick succession – one of which involved multiple cars and brought out a red flag – Earnhardt was all the way up to sixth by avoiding damage during the incidents. He moved into the top five just past Lap 200, and after another caution, Earnhardt settled into eighth with 20 laps to go. He gained one more position before the checkered flag, finishing seventh.