TALLADEGA, Ala. – Racing just 150 miles from home, Chase Elliott delivered at Talladega.
Driving the No. 9 Mountain Dew/Little Caesars Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 on Sunday, the 23-year-old brought home his fourth career NASCAR Cup Series win and the first of the 2019 season for Hendrick Motorsports.
Elliott’s first superspeedway victory came a short trip from his home in Dawsonville, Georgia. He now has four wins in the last 25 Cup races.
Teammate Alex Bowman finished second, marking his career-best finish. The driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 led his first laps of the season in the race.
The one-two finish was the fifth for Hendrick Motorsports at Talladega and marked the organization’s 253rd Cup Series win.
William Byron finished 21st with teammate Jimmie Johnson in 33rd. The two drivers suffered damage in separate incidents.
Below is a closer look at how the four Hendrick Motorsports teams fared Sunday at Talladega.
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 MOUNTAIN DEW/LITTLE CAESARS CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Elliott began Sunday’s race in 11th. By the sixth lap Elliott held position as the field scrambled to advance. On Lap 10 the first caution of the race left multiple cars with damage, but the No. 9 team was not involved. Following a trip to pit road, Elliott was charged with a speeding penalty and was sent to the rear for the restart. As the first stage continued, he was 18th by Lap 36. Quickly advancing inside the top 10 as the stage wound down, the driver finished in fourth, earning seven stage points.
- When the second stage started Elliott was in the lead with teammate Bowman right behind. On Lap 28, all four Hendrick Motorsports teammates headed to pit road and Elliott returned to the track in 17th. The driver maintained his position throughout the following laps and looked for opportunities to advance. With just 16 laps to go in the second stage and cars in front of Elliott choosing to pit, the driver took the lead again. As Stage 2 came to a close, Elliott continued to maintain the lead. He captured his first stage win of the season, earning an additional 10 points and one playoff point.
- The final stage saw Elliott continuing in the race lead. With teammates Bowman and Byron close behind, the three Hendrick Motorsports cars worked together to maintain position. After a caution for debris on the track, Elliott came to pit road for four tires. With some other competitors opting for two or fewer tires, Elliott lost the lead, but, thanks to quick work by the No. 9 crew, returned to the track in eighth. The Mountain Dew/Little Caesars Chevrolet was scored 12th with 47 laps to go. Elliott was sixth with 25 laps to go and fifth when the red flag came out for a multi-car incident with seven laps to go. As the race closed, the driver held off the field, including teammate Bowman, to take the checkered flag for his first career superspeedway win.
WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 HERTZ CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Byron started Sunday's race in 25th. After the caution flag waved early in the race on Lap 10, he was able to avoid the cars involved and head to pit road for four new tires. Looking to make gains, the driver made his way through the pack to reach the top 10 on Lap 18. Byron held 12th on Lap 36 and continued to fight for a top-10 position. He finished Stage 1 in seventh, earning four valuable stage points.
- As the second stage began, Byron found himself in third with teammates Bowman and Elliott in front of him. After getting tires and fuel during a green-flag pit stop, Byron was in 19th. By Lap 100 of the race Hendrick Motorsports was sitting one-two-three for the second time in the race, with Byron in third. Able to hold third place to finish the second stage, he earned another eight stage points.
- In the beginning laps of the final stage, Byron held a top-five position. When a caution for debris on Lap 131 waved, he headed to pit road for four tires and fuel. When the No. 24 Hertz Chevrolet returned to the track, Byron was in 12th. With 24 laps left in the race, the driver sat in 13th. With less than 20 laps to go, Byron fell to 17th. As the race came to a close, the red flag waved with the No. 24 team in 13th. As he raced the final laps, Byron was involved in a multi-car incident, which relegated him to a 21st-place result.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 ALLY CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- After starting Sunday’s race in 21st, Johnson fell back to 24th at the outset. At the caution on Lap 10, Johnson’s No. 48 Ally Chevrolet picked up debris from the multiple-car incident in front of him. Shortly thereafter, a cut right-front tire sent Johnson toward the wall. The driver headed to pit road to fix the right-side damage and he returned at the rear of the field. After a tough start to the race, Johnson and the No. 48 team finished the first stage in 35th.
- With the previous damage on Johnson’s Chevy, he battled throughout Stage 2 to advance. Reporting his machine was “a handful,” the No. 48 crew worked on the car throughout the stage in an effort to improve position while running laps behind the leader. Johnson finished Stage 2 in 34th.
- Ultimately, the No. 48 team was unable to overcome the early-race damage and finished the event in 33rd.
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 NATIONWIDE CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Bowman rolled off the grid leading the Hendrick Motorsports teammates in ninth. When the green flag waved, the driver was able to hold his position in the early laps of the race. When the first caution waved, he was able to miss the cars involved in the incident but also missed his opportunity to pit. Hoping to make up for it, Bowman pitted on Lap 15 to claim 17th by Lap 21. He held his position as Lap 36 saw the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 driver in 16th. With a few laps left in the stage, he jumped inside the top 10. Quickly making gains, Bowman advanced to second with five laps left in the stage. He finished the first stage directly behind the leader, earning nine extra points.
- The second stage saw Bowman and Elliott alternating the lead, marking Bowman’s first laps led of the season. After a trip to pit road with teammates during the green flag run, he was scored in 18th. Working with teammates Elliott and Byron, Bowman made his way through the field. By Lap 100, he and his teammates were at the front of the pack with the No. 88 Chevy in second. As Stage 2 came to a close, Bowman finished second once again, earning nine valuable stage points.
- The final segment brought the No. 88 Nationwide team to the green flag in ninth. Bowman was running 17th with 45 laps to go and advanced to 13th with 30 left. Keeping the pressure on, he slid into 10th with 23 laps to go and was scored seventh when a red flag came with just seven laps remaining. After racing hard during the final laps at Talladega Superspeedway, Bowman came in second behind teammate Elliott, marking his career-best finish.