SONOMA, Calif.– Sunday afternoon at Sonoma Raceway, Jimmie Johnson led his teammates to the checkered flag in the first road-course race of the season.
He took the checkered flag in 12th. Alex Bowman and William Byron followed behind in 14th and 19th.
After reporting an oil pressure issue in his No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, Chase Elliott’s day was cut short and the driver was scored 37th.
Martin Truex Jr. captured the win.
Below is a closer look at how the four Hendrick Motorsports drivers fared Sunday at Sonoma.
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Chase Elliott began Sunday’s race in fourth. Quickly after the green flag waved, Elliott advanced to second to follow behind teammate William Byron. On Lap 18 just before the end of the opening segment, Elliott pitted under green for a track-bar adjustment and new tires. He returned to the track to finish Stage 1 in 13th.
- The No. 9 team’s pit strategy allowed Elliott to begin Stage 2 as the race leader. After the green flag waved, however, the driver fell back to second place and settled in as the runner-up. With three laps left in the stage, the No. 9 Chevy once again made its way to pit road from second place for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments. Ultimately, Elliott was able to finish the second stage in eighth, earning three extra points.
- When the final segment started, Elliott was in second. By Lap 49 the driver was 1.6 seconds behind the leader. On Lap 51 he fell to third, and he held that position while fighting to catch up to the leaders. With 29 laps remaining in the race, the driver reported an oil pressure issue with the No. 9 Chevy and headed to pit road. The No. 9 team then pushed the car to the garage to assess the issue, which ultimately ended Elliott’s day. He was scored with a 37th-place finish.
WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 HERTZ CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- William Byron started the race on the outside pole. Moments after the green flag waved, Byron put his No. 24 Hertz Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 into the lead. The driver was able to maintain the lead spot throughout the entire stage, taking the green-checkered flag as the Stage 1 winner to earn 10 extra points and a valuable playoff point. It marked the first stage win of his NASCAR Cup Series career.
- After a trip to pit road, Byron restarted Stage 2 in 18th. He quickly made efforts to advance and succeeded by making his way up to 12th by Lap 31 as he tried to crack the top 10. When majority of the field pitted before the end of the stage, Byron opted to stay out again. When the green-checkered flag waved, Byron concluded Stage 2 in third, earning eight extra points.
- After a pit stop between stages, Byron began the final segment in 24th. He quickly advanced to 19th shortly after the green flag waved. Making his way through the field, Byron found himself inside the top 15 on Lap 54. By Lap 63 he was in 13th. Looking for a top-10 finish, Byron fought to make his way inside the top 10 as he sat in 11th on Lap 71. With just 20 laps remaining, Byron radioed in that his Chevy was feeling tight. With just five laps remaining, and the driver was in 16th and he ultimately finished the race in 19th.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 ALLY CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Jimmie Johnson took the green flag in 11th. He was able to quickly gain speed to jump up into the top 10 in ninth. By Lap 16 the driver of the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 had fallen to 12th. As competitors made green-flag pit stops, Johnson elected to stay out and advanced back inside the top 10. The driver finished Stage 1 in 10th, earning one extra point.
- After four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments, Johnson started Stage 2 in 25th. Halfway through the stage, he was up to 21st. On Lap 37 he headed to pit road for four tires, adjustments and fuel, returning to the track to complete the second segment in 27th.
- The No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 started the final segment at Sonoma Raceway in 14th. By Lap 50 he made his way to 10th. Looking to advance inside the top-10 positions, he made his way to ninth by Lap 51. With 22 laps remaining, Johnson raced all the way up to fifth as he continued to track down the leaders. As the final laps came to a close, the driver reported that he was battling the handling of his No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and started to fall in position. He ultimately fell outside of the top 10 as tire wear began to take its toll, and when the checkered flag waved, Johnson finished in 12th.
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 AXALTA CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Alex Bowman began Sunday’s road-course race in 12th. Four laps into the race, he made his way to 11th. When some drivers made green-flag pit stops, Bowman elected to stay out, ultimately finishing the first stage in seventh to earn four extra points.
- Bowman made his first pit stop of the race between stages for four tires and fuel. He took the green flag for Stage 2 in 21st. By Lap 32 the driver had made his way inside the top 20 to 19th. Just before the end of the segment the No. 88 Chevy hit pit road for four tires and fuel. Bowman finished Stage 2 in 24th.
- Bowman started the final segment just outside the top 10 in 11th. By Lap 51, he was in 12th as he looked to get inside the top 10. By Lap 64 Bowman moved just inside the top 10 in 10th and advanced to ninth by Lap 66, the driver worked to make his way through the field. He climbed as high as seventh with just 20 laps remaining in Sunday’s event before he began to fall back in traffic. With 10 laps to go in the race, Bowman was in 11th. As the race came to a close, Bowman finished Sunday’s event in 14th.