FONTANA, Calif. – In Sunday’s face-off, it was Superman’s time to shine.
The No. 48 Lowe’s Superman Chevrolet SS flew all the way to Victory Lane at Auto Club Speedway, giving Jimmie Johnson his 77th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win.
The overtime victory gave him sole possession of seventh place all-time in career wins.
“I knew we had a great car,” Johnson smiled. “We saved our best for last, for sure.”
With the Super Hero theme of the event, just behind Superman, a “boy wonder” also jumped into the spotlight.
Rookie Chase Elliott took home the third top-10 finish of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career, earning sixth place at the checkered flag.
Johnson’s Super Hero teammate in the No. 88 Nationwide Batman Chevrolet SS, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was next to the finish line in 11th.
Rounding out the four Hendrick Motorsports teammates, Kasey Kahne took home a 28th-place result.
Below is a detailed look at how the four Hendrick Motorsports drivers fared Sunday.
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Kahne began Sunday’s race from just outside the top 10 in 12th, but a pit road penalty during the first caution of the race put the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS at the tail end of the lead lap. An unscheduled pit stop for a tire going down put Kahne a lap down, and he battled to recover for the remainder of the race. On Lap 54 Kahne was in 35th, and by Lap 114 he was in 29th as the first car a lap down. With 80 laps to go, however, he made contact with a competitor, which drew a caution flag. He headed to pit road and was back outside the top 30 for the restart. He kept battling and ultimately finished 28th.
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Elliott led his Hendrick Motorsports teammates to the green flag Sunday, beginning the race in eighth. After reporting that he might have scraped the wall, Elliott fell outside of the top 10 30 laps into the event. But he got back to work, racing through the field back to the top 10 by Lap 60. Twelve laps later he cracked the top five, and by Lap 82 he was all the way up to second behind teammate Johnson. When Johnson headed to pit road for a green-flag stop, Elliott took the lead on Lap 83 before heading to pit road himself. On a restart on Lap 114 following a caution, Elliott fell just outside of the top five, and he continued working to find that position again. With 32 laps to go, the rookie made a big move to pass Johnson to move into sixth place. Two laps later, he was back in the top five. With 16 laps remaining, he made a move to capture fourth place, and just five laps later he jumped up to third. When a caution flag waved to force overtime, Elliott jumped to second before heading to pit road. He returned to the track in seventh and finished just outside the top five in sixth.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S SUPERMAN CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Johnson started just inside the top 20 Sunday afternoon, but it didn’t take long for the driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Superman Chevrolet SS to become one of the biggest movers of the afternoon. By the first caution of the race on Lap 28, Johnson was already in the top 10 and he gained a position on pit road thanks to a speedy stop by the No. 48 team. He found the top three on Lap 56, and on Lap 78 he took the lead before heading to pit road for a green-flag stop. He returned to the track in second and took the lead once again on Lap 106 when the leader headed to pit road. A caution followed shortly thereafter, and Johnson restarted second but once again found the lead on Lap 114. Following a caution with 80 laps remaining, Johnson returned to the track in fourth after a pit stop, but he found third on the restart and moved to second with 60 laps remaining. On Lap 154, Johnson headed to pit road for a scheduled green-flag stop, but a caution flag waved just as he exited pit road. Johnson narrowly remained on the lead lap and when the leaders pitted during the caution, he moved to the lead for the restart with 40 laps remaining. With tires just a little older than his competitors’, Johnson fell back outside of the top five. But he found fifth once again when a caution flag waved to force overtime. He returned to the track in third and quickly made his way to the lead to take the white flag. He held off the pack and took home his 77th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win, moving into seventh place on the all-time wins list.
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 NATIONWIDE BATMAN CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Earnhardt knew he had work to do when he took the green flag Sunday in 27th, but he was battling his car’s handling early in the race after making slight contact with a competitor. During a caution on Lap 48, Earnhardt headed down pit road twice so that the No. 88 crew could make sure to repair the damage on the left front of the No. 88 Nationwide Batman Chevrolet SS. From a 33rd-place restart on Lap 54, he got to work. By Lap 78 he was up to 17th, and after a green-flag pit stop followed by a caution, Earnhardt was up to 15th by Lap 114. He cracked the top 10 with 80 laps remaining, briefly losing that position and finding it again with 50 to go. On Lap 154 Earnhardt headed to pit road for a green-flag stop, but a caution was called for debris as Earnhardt was exiting pit road. He was given the free pass back to the lead lap but had to restart 23rd with 40 laps remaining. He continued battling, gaining nine positions up to 14th by the time a caution flag waved to force overtime. He returned to the track in 13th and ultimately finished 11th.