SPEEDWAY, Ind. – Monday afternoon at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, both Jimmie Johnson and Alex Bowman secured their spots in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.
Chase Elliott, who had already clinched his playoff spot with a win at Watkins Glen in August, led the Hendrick Motorsports teammates to the Brickyard 400 checkered flag in 15th.
Johnson followed him to the finish line in 16th, and William Byron joined them inside the top 20 with a 19th-place finish.
Bowman finished 33rd after he was involved in a multiple-car incident in Stage 2 but was able to remain in the race.
Brad Keselowski took home the win.
The playoffs begin next week at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with Elliott, Johnson and Bowman part of the 16-driver field.
Below is a closer look at how the four Hendrick Motorsports drivers fared Monday at Indianapolis.
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Starting just outside the top 10, Elliott cracked the top 10 before the first competition caution of the afternoon, which came after 10 laps. Following the second competition caution after Lap 30, the No. 9 team elected to take just two tires, allowing Elliott to gain five positions on pit road and restart sixth. He held on to his top-10 position down the stretch, finishing Stage 1 in ninth. The result earned him two extra points.
- Elliott headed to pit road between stages when multiple competitors did not, leaving him in 20th for the Stage 2 green flag. Within 10 laps, he was back up to 12th, and he stayed on the track during a caution on Lap 67 to restart sixth. He held on to his top-10 position as competitors headed to pit road toward the end of Stage 2, allowing Elliott to move all the way up to second to take the green-checkered flag as the Stage 2 runner-up. He picked up nine additional points in the process.
- He gained a position between stages as the first driver to leave pit road, but with several competitors remaining on the track, he started the final segment in ninth. Following a green-flag pit stop, he climbed back inside the top 10 and ultimately the top five before electing to pit during a late-race caution. With 12 laps to go, he restarted 14th and moved up to 10th for one more restart with three laps to go. He was shuffled back in traffic on the final restart and took the checkered flag in 15th.
WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 LIBERTY UNIVERSITY CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Byron took the green flag in 22nd, but he was up to 15th before the first competition caution of the race following Lap 10. The No. 24 team elected to take two tires, allowing Byron to restart in sixth. The team took four tires during the second competition caution following Lap 30, but still maintained a top-15 position through the green-checkered flag to finish Stage 1 in 13th.
- The No. 24 team kept Byron on the track between stages, allowing the driver to restart fifth. He moved up to third, and upon staying on the track during another caution on Lap 67, he moved up to second for the ensuing restart. He was shuffled back when the green flag dropped but maintained a top-10 position until another caution, when he headed to pit road for the first time in Stage 2.
- During the stop, the No. 24 team was penalized for an uncontrolled tire, knocking Byron outside of the top 25. He quickly climbed back inside the top 20, and as competitors headed to pit road toward the end of Stage 2, he climbed all the way up to eighth before the green-checkered flag waved. The result earned him three extra points.
- Byron once again remained on the track between stages, starting the final segment as the race leader. He lost the lead when the green flag waved and held on to a top-10 position until he was shuffled back behind a long line of cars and settled into 23rd. With 40 laps to go, he headed to pit road for a green-flag stop, returning to the track outside of the top 25 a lap behind the leader.
- With fewer than 25 laps to go, Byron moved back onto the lead lap and inside the top 20, and through multiple late-race cautions, he maintained his position to finish 19th.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S FOR PROS CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Rolling off the grid 14th, Johnson moved inside the top 10 prior to the first competition caution of the afternoon at Lap 10. He fell back in the pack a bit as he battled the handling of the No. 48 Lowe’s for Pros Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, finishing Stage 1 in 17th.
- Johnson stayed on the track between stages, starting the second segment in eighth. He jumped up to seventh before a caution on Lap 67, when he elected to head to pit road while many competitors stayed on the track. That put Johnson back in 30th for the ensuing restart, though he quickly climbed back inside the top 20. As competitors headed to pit road toward the end of Stage 2, Johnson stayed out to take the green-checkered flag to end Stage 2 in 10th, picking up an extra point.
- Following a pit stop, Johnson started the final segment in 17th. With 30 laps to go, as competitors headed to pit road, he climbed inside the top five while remaining on the track. He moved into the runner-up position before heading to pit road himself. Through multiple late-race cautions, he maintained a top-20 position and crossed the finish line 16th.
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 AXALTA CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Bowman began Monday’s race in 15th, and he battled the handling of his No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 throughout the first stage of the race. He took the green-checkered flag in 18th at the end of Stage 1.
- Following a pit stop, Bowman started Stage 2 in 23rd. Within 10 laps, he had jumped inside the top 20, but on Lap 67 he was involved in a multiple-car incident and was sent into the wall after contact by a competitor. The No. 88 team repaired the damage and Bowman reached the minimum speed within the five-minute time limit, allowing him to head back to pit road multiple times for further repairs. He fell to 36th, multiple laps behind the leader in the process.
- Bowman finished Stage 2 in 36th and continued to battle throughout the final segment to gain as many positions as possible. He took the checkered flag 33rd.