SPARTA, Ky. – Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway, Chase Elliott led the way for his Hendrick Motorsports teammates with a 15th-place finish.
He was followed to the finish line by Alex Bowman in 17th, William Byron in 18th and Jimmie Johnson in 30th.
Byron was running second in the final segment before he was charged with a restart violation, and the resulting pass-through penalty ultimately took him out of contention.
Kurt Busch took home the race win.
Below is a closer look at how the four Hendrick Motorsports drivers fared Saturday at Kentucky.
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 MTN. DEW DEWNITED STATES CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- After starting the race in 20th, Elliott had to make an unscheduled pit stop due to a right-front tire going down on his No. 9 Mtn. Dew DEWnited States Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. It brought out a caution on Lap 48 and put Elliott a lap down.
- Regaining the lost lap as the beneficiary of the free pass during a caution shortly thereafter, Elliott moved from 33rd all the way up to 15th before the green-checkered flag waved at the end of Stage 1.
- Following a trip to pit road, Elliott began Stage 2 in 24th and climbed inside the top 20 before making a green-flag pit stop early in the cycle. The timing trapped Elliott down multiple laps for much of the second segment as he battled to climb back through the field from outside of the top 25. When the entire field cycled through green-flag stops, Elliott had made his way up to 17th back on the lead lap at the end of Stage 2.
- Elliott took the green flag for the final segment in 19th, gaining three positions right away on the restart. By Lap 185, he had moved up to 11th, and he climbed inside the top 10 with 77 laps remaining. After a green-flag pit stop, he continued to move through the field as competitors headed to pit road, finding 13th with 15 laps remaining when the field cycled through stops.
- When a caution sent the race to overtime, the No. 9 team elected to head to pit road for four fresh tires and fuel before the restart. Contact with the wall in the race to the finish ultimately sent Elliott to a 15th-place result.
WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 AXALTA CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Byron rolled off the grid 12th Saturday night but had climbed inside the top 10 by a restart on Lap 53 thanks to quick work by the No. 24 team on pit road. By the end of Stage 1, however, he had fallen just outside of the top 10, finishing the segment in 12th.
- Electing for a four-tire stop between segments, Byron began Stage 2 in 25th and reported a possible tire rub shortly after the green flag waved. Still, he steadily climbed through the field for the duration of the second segment, staying on track as competitor after competitor made green-flag pit stops. The strategy moved Byron up to second place before he made his green-flag stop with 10 laps to go in Stage 2. He returned to the track in 15th, which is where he would take the green-checkered flag.
- The No. 24 team kept Byron on the track prior to the start of the final segment, allowing him to take the green flag in third. He jumped into the runner-up spot on the restart and began to track down the leader.
- Lining up second for a restart on Lap 185, Byron was assessed a restart violation by NASCAR, resulting in a pass-through penalty. After serving the penalty, he returned to the track in 23rd as the last car on the lead lap.
- Contact with a competitor caused Byron to lose momentum with fewer than 45 laps remaining in the race, and he dropped outside of the top 25. He bounced back to find 18th with 15 laps to go, though he was down a lap. In overtime, Byron crossed the finish line in 18th.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 ALLY CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Johnson began Saturday night’s race in 13th, but reported early that he was battling the handling of his No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. After contact with a competitor on the track, the No. 48 team made repairs on pit road during a four-tire stop under caution. Falling in traffic to outside of the top 25, Johnson recovered to finish Stage 1 in 21st.
- Thanks to a quick pit stop between segments, Johnson began Stage 2 in 13th. Though he fell back in the pack, he remained inside the top 20 and began to climb back through traffic. Remaining on track as competitors headed to pit road for green-flag stops, Johnson advanced as high as third before driving down pit road with 10 laps to go in the segment. He returned to the track in 14th, which is where he would finish Stage 2.
- Quick work by the No. 48 team on pit road once again allowed Johnson to gain positions prior to the start of the next stage, and he began the final segment in 10th. On the restart he raced into the eighth position and continued to push toward the top five, finding seventh before he made contact with the wall and spun out on Lap 179.
- The No. 48 team repaired the damage under caution and allowed Johnson remain on the lead lap, lining up 23rd for the ensuing restart. The damage to the No. 48 Ally Chevy caused the driver to fall back in the pack, however, but he continued to battle in 25th with 15 laps to go. In overtime, Johnson raced to the checkered flag in 30th.
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 NATIONWIDE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Beginning Saturday’s race in 22nd, Bowman climbed to the verge of the top 15 before he reported that he was battling the handling of his No. 88 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. The No. 88 team elected to take four tires during multiple cautions in Stage 1 as Bowman fell back a bit in traffic, and the driver ultimately finished the opening segment in 26th.
- No. 88 team crew chief Greg Ives radioed to Bowman to remain on the track between segments, allowing the driver to open Stage 2 in sixth. The strategy paid off, as he climbed as high as fourth before making a green-flag pit stop.
- Bowman advanced back into the top 10 late in Stage 2 as competitors made their stops, but the driver reported a tire going down and was forced to make another trip down pit road on Lap 150. That put him outside of the top 25 a lap behind the leader. He took the green-checkered flag to finish the second segment in 26th one lap down.
- In the final segment, Bowman looked to gain as many position as possible while trapped a lap down. He moved up to 24th as the first car down one lap shortly after the green flag waved. As the race remained green, the leader passed additional cars and Bowman continued to fight to be in position for the free pass.
- Waiting to take a green-flag pit stop, Bowman moved back onto the lead lap inside the top 10 before he headed to pit road with 20 laps remaining in the race. When he returned to the track, he was in 21st one lap down. In overtime, he climbed to 17th before the checkered flag waved.