DOVER, Del. – Sunday afternoon at Dover International Speedway, Chase Elliott captured his second career NASCAR Cup Series win and clinched a spot in the Round of 8 in the process.
Starting the day in ninth, Elliott overcame an early uncontrolled tire violation and utilized a strategy call by the No. 9 team to stay on the track during a late caution to take the lead. He held that lead through multiple restarts to ultimately capture the victory in overtime.
With the win, Elliott automatically advanced to the next round of the playoffs.
“Just perseverance and some good adjustments throughout the day,” Elliott said. “Just a great effort. I appreciate everybody, all of our partners – NAPA, Valvoline, Hooters, SunEnergy1, Chevrolet, Mountain Dew and Kelley Blue Book. We’ve had an up-and-down year, I feel like, and to have this race slip away last year makes today that much more sweet. I wish mom and dad were here, but we’ll move on to next week and don’t have to worry about Talladega, so that’s nice.”
William Byron was the next Hendrick Motorsports teammate to the checkered flag on Sunday, finishing 19th.
While running inside the top 10, Alex Bowman was involved in a multiple-car incident with under 10 laps to go, ending his day early. He was scored 28th.
“(No. 88 team crew chief) Greg (Ives) and the guys got the No. 88 Axalta Hendrick Motorsports Camaro way better,” Bowman said. “We were probably going to come away with a fifth-to-seventh-place finish there at the least. Just a bummer it all ended up this way.”
Jimmie Johnson experienced an issue before the green flag even waved and was forced to take the No. 48 Lowe’s for Pros Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 to the garage as competitors began the race. He returned to the track 10 laps behind the leader and battled to finish the day in 36th.
Below is a closer look at how the four Hendrick Motorsports teammates fared Sunday at the “Monster Mile.”
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Leading his teammates to the green flag in ninth, Elliott continued to race inside the top 10 for the majority of the opening segment. Within the first 25 laps, he gained two positions to move into seventh, and by Lap 60 he had moved up another spot into sixth.
- By lap 90, Elliott made his way into the top five in fourth. He finished the 120-lap opening segment in fifth, earning six extra points with the result.
- In the caution between stages, Elliott was handed an uncontrolled tire violation on pit road, which resulted in the driver taking the Stage 2 green flag in 15th. Throughout the middle segment, Elliott steadily gained back positions, and by Lap 211, he was back up to 11th. He returned the top 10 laps later, picking up two positions in the closing Stage 2 laps to finish the segment in ninth. He earned two additional points with the result.
- Starting the final segment in 11th, Elliott gained two positions early on and was running ninth by Lap 264. He was in eighth when a caution flag waved with 65 laps to go, but he was able to pick up two more spots to take the restart in sixth.
- With fewer than 50 laps to go, Elliott steadily gained positions to move into the top five. He was running fifth by Lap 52, and with 43 laps left he had moved into fourth. By Lap 385, Elliott had gained another position to move into third.
- He took the lead when he stayed on the track during a caution with under 10 laps to go, and even with an additional caution that brought out a red flag and sent the race into overtime, the driver remained in front all the way to checkered flag to earn his second career NASCAR Cup Series victory and a spot in the Round of 8.
WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 HENDRICK AUTOGUARD CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Starting the race 22nd, Byron got to work quickly in Sunday’s race and picked up three positions in the opening laps to move into 19th by Lap 5. The driver continued to race near the top 20 for the majority of the beginning Stage 1 laps.
- After the No. 24 team elected to have Byron pit before most other competitors did, Byron initially was shuffled down to 30th by Lap 69, but the driver quickly gained his top-20 position back. He moved back into 19th by Lap 80, finishing Stage 1 in that position.
- Byron was shuffled outside the top 20 in the early Stage 2 laps, running 23rd by Lap 140. Over the next several laps, the driver worked his way into the top 20, moving into 20th by Lap 166. He remained consistent until the end of Stage 2, finishing the middle segment in 21st.
- In the final Stage, Byron continued to run near the top 20, taking the green flag in 22nd. He stayed in that position for most of the early portion of the stage, and by Lap 316 he had moved up one position into 21st. On Lap 348, he gained another position to move into 20th, and he continued to battle in the closing laps to gain another position and take home a 19th-place finish.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S FOR PROS CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Prior to the start of Sunday’s race, Johnson experienced an issue with his No. 48 Lowe’s for Pros Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and was forced to head to the garage while competitors took the green flag. The No. 48 team was able to repair the issue to allow Johnson to return to the track, and the driver began the race in 39th, 10 laps behind the leader.
- Midway through the opening segment, Johnson was penalized for pitting outside his pit box and fell an additional lap behind the leader. The driver gained one more position in the opening to finish Stage 1 in 38th.
- Johnson continued to hold his position in Stage 2, finishing the middle segment in 38th, 17 laps behind the leader.
- Johnson kept battling to gain positions in the final segment, and he picked up two positions late in the race to move into 36th. He ultimately finished the day in that position.
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 AXALTA CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Taking the green flag in 12th, consistent racing saw Bowman race inside the top 15 for most of the beginning laps of Stage 1. After a cycle of green-flag pit stops midway through the segment, he was shuffled down to 21st by Lap 80, but the driver of the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 was back up to 17th by Lap 91.
- On the final lap of Stage 1, Bowman made a successful pass on a competitor to ensure he was the first car a lap down. He finished Stage 1 in 15th, earning the free pass back on the onto the lead lap.
- Taking the Stage 2 green flag in 14th, consistent racing saw Bowman race inside the top 15 for most of the middle segment. He was running 16th by Lap 211, but the driver battled in the closing laps of Stage 2 to gain two positions, finishing the middle segment in 14th, once again as the first car one lap down to earn the free pass.
- Bowman took the final segment green flag in 14th, and by Lap 306 he had settled into 12th. After a cycle of green-flag pit stops with under 80 laps to go, Bowman successfully gained two more positions to move into the top 10 in 10th.
- In the closing laps, Bowman was running eighth when he was involved in a multiple-car incident with fewer than 10 laps to go. The damage ended his day early and he was scored 28th.