SPEEDWAY, Ind. – Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Jimmie Johnson led his Hendrick Motorsports teammates to the checkered flag, and the organization reached a milestone in the process.
The No. 48 Lowe's Red Vest Chevrolet SS crossed the finish line in third, giving Hendrick Motorsports its 1,000th top-five result since the team was founded by Rick Hendrick in 1984.
Johnson was followed just outside the top 10 by Jeff Gordon – filling in for Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS – who took home a 13th-place result.
"I really liked working with (No. 88 team crew chief) Greg (Ives) and this whole No. 88 team," Gordon said. "I'm looking forward to Pocono."
Chase Elliott was next to take the checkered flag in 15th, and Kasey Kahne finished 18th.
Kyle Busch earned the win.
Below is a closer look at how the four Hendrick Motorsports drivers fared at Indianapolis.
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Kahne began Sunday’s race in the 26th position, but he quickly got to work, gaining nine positions in the first 13 laps. He got close to the top 10 as competitors began to make green-flag pit stops, and after his own stop when the field cycled through on Lap 44, he found himself in 15th. Following a caution on Lap 54, Kahne restarted 15th and quickly raced his way to the doorstep of the top 10 once again in 11th on Lap 60. Following another cycle of green-flag pit stops, Kahne settled into 15th as the race passed the 100-lap mark. He fell a lap down during the long green-flag run but took a wave around when a caution flag flew with 40 laps to go. He then headed to pit road when the race went green once again and fell a lap down in 19th. When the first overtime attempt was halted by a caution flag, Kahne was the beneficiary of a free pass to regain the lap. He headed to pit road and took the green flag for the second overtime attempt in 19th, gaining one position before the checkered flag to finish 18th.
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Elliott rolled off the grid Sunday in 15th, though by Lap 23 he had fallen outside of the top 20 while battling the handling of the No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet SS. As competitors began to make green-flag pit stops, Elliott moved all the way up to seventh before heading to pit road. When the field cycled through, he was in 19th on Lap 44. Following a trip to pit road during a caution on Lap 54, Elliott was back inside the top 20, and he reached the top 10 once again while remaining on the track as competitors made green-flag pit stops. On Lap 87, however, he made his own stop, and at Lap 100 he was in 20th. That’s where he remained following another green-flag stop and a caution, but on the ensuing restart with 33 laps to go he gained six places up to 14th. When another caution flag flew with 30 laps to go, Elliott headed to pit road again, and he restarted 13th. During a caution for debris with 10 laps to go, Elliott visited pit road once again and restarted 15th. He avoided a multiple-car incident on the ensuing restart and was in 12th after a red flag. The race went to overtime, and on the second attempt at a green-white-checkered finish, Elliott took the green flag in 10th. He ultimately finished 15th.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S RED VEST CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Johnson led his teammates to the green flag Sunday in 13th, and he entered the top 10 for the first time on Lap 23. He reached fourth place as competitors began to make green-flag pit stops before heading down pit road himself on Lap 26. He returned to the track still inside of the top 10, and when the full field cycled through on Lap 44, he was inside the top five. Following a caution on Lap 54, Johnson restarted eighth but got caught in traffic and fell outside of the top 10. He regained the position before Lap 70, but when he made a green-flag pit stop on Lap 85, he was penalized for going too fast on pit road. Following his pass-through penalty, he was outside of the top 20 on Lap 89. He kept working and found 19th when the race passed the 100-lap mark. Johnson made a green-flag pit stop shortly after falling a lap down, and when a caution flag waved with 40 laps to go, he took a wave around to move back to the lead lap. He restarted 21st with 33 laps remaining and quickly raced up to 15th before another caution flag flew with 30 laps to go. He headed to pit road once again and restarted 15th. With 13 laps to go, he had moved up to 11th, and he restarted 10th following a caution for debris with 10 laps remaining. After avoiding a multiple-car incident on the restart, he found himself in seventh following a red flag. The race went to overtime, and on the second attempt at a green-white-checkered finish, Johnson took the green flag still in seventh. He made his way through the field quickly, however, racing all the way to third before the checkered flag waved.
JEFF GORDON, NO. 88 AXALTA CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Filling in for Earnhardt, Gordon began his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start since last season’s finale in the 21st position. He reported that he was battling the handling of the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet, and he struggled to improve his position early in the race. Following a green-flag pit stop, it was discovered that he had a right-rear tire that was losing air, and he began to make up ground when he returned to the track. He settled into 24th, but found his way inside the top 20 on Lap 72. Following a speedy green-flag pit stop by the No. 88 team on Lap 83, Gordon found himself in 12th by Lap 89. He gained a spot to move to 11th on Lap 112, and just before a caution on Lap 120 he found the top 10. He headed to pit road and stayed in for a little extra fuel, returning to the track in 12th for the ensuing restart. When another caution flag waved with 30 laps remaining, Gordon was in 13th and headed to pit road once again. He restarted 14th, but fell just outside of the top 15. He avoided a multiple-car incident on a restart with seven laps to go following a caution for debris, and that left him in 13th after a red flag. The race went to overtime, and on the second attempt at a green-white-checkered finish, Gordon took the green flag in 17th after heading to pit road following the first attempt. He ultimately took the checkered flag 13th.