DARLINGTON, S.C. – Sunday night at Darlington Raceway, Chase Elliott led his Hendrick Motorsports to the checkered flag with his eighth top-five finish of the season.
Elliott earned a fifth-place result after starting the race in 11th.
Alex Bowman was the next teammate to the checkered flag, taking home a 23rd-place result.
William Byron’s day ended in the closing laps of the race when the No. 24 Axalta Chevy experienced an engine issue. He was scored 35th.
“Just blew up, but we had a pretty solid day going,” Byron said. “The car looked awesome and we will keep working hard.”
Jimmie Johnson’s day was also cut short when he experienced an engine issue in the final segment that ultimately sent him to the garage. He was scored 39th.
“It was something about the oil pump, I believe,” Johnson explained.
Brad Keselowski took the checkered flag as the winner.
Below is a detailed look at how all four Hendrick Motorsports driver performed Sunday night.
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS THROWBACK CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Starting 11th, Elliott gained two positions early in the opening segment of Sunday night’s race to move into ninth by Lap 23. He continued to race around the top 10 for the vast majority of Stage 1, finishing the opening 100-lap segment in 10th to earn an extra point.
- Elliott took the Stage 2 green flag in 10th, and consistent racing saw the driver maintain his top-10 position throughout the opening laps of Stage 2. Running ninth when a caution flag waved at Lap 129, Elliott gained four positions on pit road and jumped up to fifth on the Lap 135 restart. Elliott continued to race inside the top 10 for most of the middle segment, ultimately finishing Stage 2 in fourth, earning seven extra points.
- In the final segment, Elliott climbed up to second place, and he maintained the runner-up position until heading to pit road for a green-flag stop with fewer than 110 laps to go. He returned to the track outside of the top five as several competitors utilized a different pit strategy, but Elliott regained his second-place spot by Lap 288.
- Holding his second-place position, Elliott was on pit road for a scheduled pit stop when a caution flag waved on Lap 312. As a result, Elliott had to take a wave-around to get back on the lead lap, taking the ensuing restart in fifth with 45 laps to go.
- As the laps wound down, Elliott continued to battle inside the top 10, crossing the finish line fifth to take home his eighth top-five finish of the season.
WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 AXALTA RAINBOW THROWBACK CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Rolling off the grid 10th, Byron got to work early and moved into seventh within the first five laps of Sunday’s race. The driver of the No. 24 Axalta Rainbow Throwback Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 continued to make gains, and by Lap 12, he had worked his way inside the top five, running fifth.
- Byron eventually settled into sixth by Lap 23, but he lost positions after a cycle of green-flag pit stops midway through Stage 1, falling to ninth by Lap 55. He continued to battle down the stretch of Stage 1, but he ultimately lost his top-10 position, finishing Stage 1 14th.
- Thanks to quick work by the No. 24 team on pit road, Byron jumped up to 11th to begin Stage 2. He stayed inside the top 15 for the majority of the middle segment, moving as high as sixth on Lap 176 as competitors made green-flag pit stops. He eventually was shuffled back outside the top 10, finishing Stage 2 in 12th.
- In the final segment, Byron steadily gained ground and by Lap 268, he climbed back into the top 10 in seventh. The driver maintained his top-10 position past Lap 300 until he made a scheduled green-flag pit stop on Lap 307. After being shuffled down to 16th, Byron worked his way back up and was in 10th with less than 50 laps to go.
- On Lap 330, the No. 24 Axalta Chevy experienced an engine issue that ultimately cut Byron’s day short. He was scored 35th.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S FOR PROS/KOBALT TOOLS THROWBACK CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Johnson started Sunday’s race in the rear, and after climbing to 32nd by Lap 4, the driver steadily moved his way up the field and cracked the top 20 by Lap 23, running 20th. He continued to gain ground in the opening segment and by Lap 55, he worked his way into the top 15.
- Running 14th on Lap 65, Johnson suffered a loose rear wheel and was forced to pit road. On his way to pit road, he was given a pass-through penalty for a commitment line violation. After the penalty, Johnson was moved down to 34th by Lap 71, two laps behind the leader. Johnson continued to race hard in the closing laps of Stage 1 and picked up three positions to finish the opening segment 31st.
- Johnson took the Stage 2 green flag in 31st, and the driver continued to gradually gain positions throughout the segment. Johnson was up to 29th by Lap 129, and he gained five total positions in the middle segment to finish Stage 2 in 26th.
- On Lap 228, the No. 48 Chevy experienced an engine issue that sent Johnson to pit road ultimately the garage. The issue ended Johnson’s day, and he was scored 39th.
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 LLUMAR CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Leading his Hendrick Motorsports to the green flag in fourth, Bowman struggled with the handling of the No. 88 LLumar Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 early on and was forced to pit road with a rear-tire issue within the first 25 laps of the race. Returning to the track two laps behind the leader, Bowman was running 36th by Lap 32.
- When competitors made green-flag pit stops mid-way through Stage 1, Bowman stayed on track and gained several spots, moving into 13th by Lap 55. Laps later, he made a green-flag stop of his own and was shuffled to 31st. Down the stretch of Stage 1, Bowman gained three positions to finish in 28th.
- In the middle segment, Bowman told his team over the radio that he continued to struggle with the handling of the No. 88 LLumar Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. The driver remained consistent in Stage 2 to finish in 29th, two laps behind the leader.
- Quick work by the No. 88 team helped Bowman gain three positions in the caution between stages and take the final stage restart in 26th. The driver continued to make progress throughout the final segment, gaining three additional positions to cross the finish line 23rd.