DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Saturday night’s Sprint Unlimited featured a number of multi-car incidents that created plenty of drama.
Unfortunately, they also prevented top finishes for the three Hendrick Motorsports drivers participating in the exhibition event.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne and Jimmie Johnson were all three involved in incidents during the 75-lap race.
The trio finished 15th, 20th and 22nd, respectively.
"An unfortunate end to the Unlimited,” Johnson said from the garage. “A very fast Lowe's Chevrolet. I'm very proud of my team. Got some reps tonight, which is really good, and I'm looking forward to the 500."
Below is a closer look at how the three Hendrick Motorsports teammates fared Saturday night. Rookie Chase Elliott did not meet the requirements to participate in the non-points race.
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 GREAT CLIPS CHEVROLET SS:
RECAP: Kahne rolled off the grid 20th, but battled his way inside the top 15 within the first 11 laps Saturday night. He cracked the top 10 on Lap 19, and began the second segment of the 75-lap event in 15th. On Lap 39, the driver of the No. 5 Great Clips Chevrolet SS jumped all the way up to fourth, and moved into the top three one lap later. When a caution flag waved on Lap 44, No. 5 team crew chief Keith Rodden told Kahne to remain on the track, and he restarted in fourth, quickly moving back into the third position. However, on Lap 57, Kahne was involved in an incident that caused a caution flag and sent him to pit road for the No. 5 team to assess the damage. He returned to the track down just one lap, but the damage ultimately forced to head back to pit road and then the garage, ending his day. He was scored 20th.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS:
RECAP: Johnson took the green flag from the pole position Saturday night, and he continued to battle near the front of the pack throughout the first segment of the race. Though he lost the lead on the first lap, he never fell outside of the top 10 in the initial segment, and continuing pushing toward the front as the second segment got underway. On Lap 32 Johnson was in fourth, but within seven laps he had fallen back in the pack to 17th. As he worked his way back up all the way to 10th, he got caught in an incident on Lap 44 that caused damage to the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS and ended his day. He was scored 22nd.
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 TAXSLAYER.COM CHEVROLET SS:
RECAP: Earnhardt began Saturday night’s exhibition event from the 23rd position, and in the early stages of the race, he remained outside of the top 20. On Lap 12, however, he crossed that threshold, and by Lap 21 he was up to 13th position. But just two laps later, Earnhardt was involved in a multi-car incident when a competitor made contact with the No. 88 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet SS, causing a caution. Earnhardt headed to pit road for repairs as the first segment of the race came to a close. He drove the No. 88 back onto the track as the second segment got underway, though he found himself six laps down. He continued to battle, picking up two laps before the end of the race, ultimately finishing 15th.