RICHMOND, Va. – The 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular season is in the books.
And Dale Earnhardt Jr. closed it out at Richmond International Raceway with a top-five finish.
Three Hendrick Motorsports teammates earned top-10 results at the track. After Earnhardt in fifth, Jeff Gordon took the checkered flag in seventh, and Jimmie Johnson crossed the finish line ninth.
Meanwhile, Kasey Kahne finished 18th at Richmond, narrowly missing the Chase.
Matt Kenseth took home the victory.
Below is a look at how the four Hendrick Motorsports drivers fared at Richmond Saturday night.
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 HENDRICKRIDEALONG.COM CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Kahne began Saturday night’s race 20th with his eyes squarely on the front of the field. The first caution of the race on Lap 38 allowed Kahne to gain two spots thanks to a speedy pit stop by the No. 5 team. He restarted 18th on Lap 47, and he was already up to 12th by Lap 78. During the next caution, Kahne fell back to 19th for the restart, but once again quickly got to work, finding the top 15. He held that position until just before the halfway point of the race, at which point he remained inside the top 20, but was lapped by the leader to fall a lap down. At Lap 230, Kahne found 16th place, which put him in position to be the Lucky Dog. However, when the next caution flag finally came at Lap 291, Kahne was no longer in line for the free pass. Kahne reported that the No. 5 Chevy was struggling with a lack of grip, and another long stretch of green-flag racing allowed Kahne to fall two laps down in 18th. That is where he would finish.
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 3M CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Gordon rolled off the grid 23rd, but within 70 laps, the driver of the No. 24 3M Chevrolet SS had already cracked the top 15. When the second caution flag of the day waved on Lap 97, Gordon was in 13th, which is the same position he would take for the ensuing restart following a quick pit stop. On Lap 157, Gordon found 10th place, continuing to push deeper into the top 10. He was eighth on Lap 230, and at Lap 297 Gordon worked up to sixth. He cracked the top five just 12 laps later, with teammates Earnhardt and Johnson just behind him. When a caution flag waved with just 26 laps to go, Gordon was in seventh, which is where he remained when he returned to the track after a quick pit stop by the No. 24 crew. That is also how he would finish.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Starting ninth, Johnson didn’t settle for the back of the top 10 early in the race, finding seventh before the first caution of the race on Lap 38. A speedy stop by the No. 48 pit crew allowed Johnson to pick up two more spots on pit road, restarting fifth on Lap 47. Johnson remained in the top 10 until a restart following a caution on Lap 112, when he restarted 11th because two competitors stayed off of pit road. However, he was once again back up to seventh by Lap 165. Just before the midway point of the race, Johnson was back inside the top five. That was a theme for the next stretch of the race, as at Lap 297, he was in fourth. On Lap 310, however, he fell back to seventh as teammates Gordon and Earnhardt moved past him in a battle for top-five finishes. Following a pit stop during a caution with 26 laps to go, Johnson returned to the track in eighth. He ultimately crossed the finish line ninth.
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 NATIONWIDE CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Earnhardt’s race Saturday night began from the 29th position, but he was a big mover early on. Before the first caution of the race at Lap 38, Earnhardt had already moved to 22nd. He cracked the top 20 before the second caution flag waved on Lap 97, and kept working all the way to the top 15 on Lap 110. He held that position through Lap 234, at which point he found the top 10. He stayed at or near 10th place for the next stretch of green-flag racing, but on a restart on Lap 297 following a caution, he jumped all the way up to seventh. On Lap 314, he made it fifth, leaping ahead of teammates Gordon and Johnson. Though he fell back to sixth, when a caution flag waved with just 26 laps to go, a quick stop by the No. 88 crew allowed Earnhardt to return to the track in fifth once again. He went on to take the checkered flag in fifth.