KANSAS CITY, Kan. – It took Chase Elliott nearly 100 starts to capture his first career NASCAR Cup Series win.
Now, he has three in the past 11 races – and he’s visited Victory Lane two of the last three weekends.
Sunday at Kansas Speedway, Elliott powered his No. 9 Mountain Dew Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 to another thrilling win in the finale of the Round of 12 in the Cup Series playoffs.
“Had a great car today,” Elliott said. “Thanks to Mountain Dew, NAPA AUTO PARTS, Chevrolet, all of our partners for working hard this year. It’s been a great couple months, so we’ve got to keep it rolling. This is the time of year that counts.”
It was Elliott's first win on a 1.5-mile track, and he became the youngest driver to win a Cup Series race at Kansas.
He had already clinched a spot in the Round of 8, but the win earned him five additional playoff points to take with him into the next round.
His playoff teammate Alex Bowman was the next Hendrick Motorsports driver to the finish line in ninth. Bowman was facing a must-win scenario in order to advance in the playoffs, however, and was eliminated with the result.
Jimmie Johnson finished 22nd and William Byron was scored 38th after experiencing an engine issue early in the race.
Below is a closer look at how the four Hendrick Motorsports teammates fared Sunday at Kansas.
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 MOUNTAIN DEW CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Elliott began Sunday’s race in the 13th position, and he gradually began to work his way through the field. Quick work by the No. 9 team during a green-flag pit stop allowed Elliott to challenge for the top 10, and he found 10th before the green-checkered flag to end Stage 1. The result earned him an extra point.
- In Stage 2, Elliott once again battled inside the top 10, advancing to eighth before a cycle of green-flag pit stops. Quick work once again by the No. 9 team saw Elliott move all the way up to fourth when the field cycled through, and he finished Stage 2 in fourth, picking up seven extra points.
- On pit road prior to the start of the final segment, the No. 9 team’s speedy stop earned Elliott two additional positions, allowing him to take the restart on the front row in second. Falling to third shortly after the restart, a pass on the bottom of the racetrack moved Elliott back up to second, a position he held until a cycle of green-flag pit stops.
- When the field cycled through, Elliott had taken over the race lead with fewer than 45 laps remaining. He held the lead as the laps wound down with Kyle Busch looking to track him down in second place. He held off the challenge to earn his third win of the season – and second win in the past three weeks.
WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 UNIFIRST CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Taking the green flag 17th, Byron gained a position within the first 15 laps and advanced all the way to fifth on Lap 40 as competitors headed to pit road for green-flag stops ahead of him. One lap later, Byron headed to pit road himself.
- On Lap 55, Byron had cycled back into 16th place, but the No. 24 UniFirst Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 experienced an engine issue that forced the driver to the garage. The issue ended his day, and he was scored 38th.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S FOR PROS CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Rolling off the grid 22nd, Johnson climbed into the 15th position by Lap 9. He moved inside the top five as competitors headed to pit road before he made a green-flag stop of his own. As the field cycled through, he found himself back inside the top 10 and he finished Stage 1 in ninth, picking up two extra points.
- In Stage 2, Johnson continued to run inside the top 10, briefly falling to 11th before another green-flag pit stop. After the field cycled through, Johnson was running eighth, and that is where he would finish Stage 2. The result earned him three extra points.
- In the final segment, Johnson once again settled just inside the top 10 in ninth for the early goings. He fell to 11th just before a cycle of green-flag pit stops, and when the field cycled through, he was running 11th once again with 28 laps remaining.
- With 20 laps remaining, Johnson made contact with the wall and headed to pit road so that the No. 48 team could assess the damage. He returned to the track outside of the top 20 and ultimately took the checkered flag in 22nd.
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 NATIONWIDE CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Bowman led his teammates to the green flag in 10th, but early in the race the No. 19 car made hard contact with the wall just in front of Bowman. The No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 took some front-right damage as Bowman avoided getting caught in an incident. Still, he continued to climb through the field.
- On Lap 24, Bowman moved into the seventh position but scraped the wall in the process. Still, he reported that he didn’t see any smoke from a tire rub and was able to continue until making a green-flag pit stop on Lap 40. He went on to finish Stage 1 in 14th.
- In Stage 2, Bowman climbed back inside the top 10 and maintained that position through a cycle of green-flag pit stops, taking the green-checkered flag in ninth to earn two extra points.
- In the final segment, Bowman continued to battle in and around the top 10. On Lap 183, he found 10th place, which he held until a cycle of green-flag pit stops. Once the field cycled through, Bowman climbed up to eighth with 28 laps remaining. He crossed the finish line in ninth and was eliminated from the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.