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CONCORD, N.C. -- Sunday at Dover International Speedway, all four Hendrick Motorsports drivers finished inside the top 12 as the first round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup came to a close.

Below are some takeaways from the event.


Jimmie Johnson led 90 laps Sunday at Dover, including Laps 189 to 277.

But when he headed to pit road from the lead for a green-flag pit stop, his fortunes changed.

The No. 48 team was penalized for jumping over the wall too soon, forcing Johnson to take a pass-through penalty.

"When I was coming into my pit box, the No. 18 and the No. 43 were just leaving theirs and they were directly behind my box," Johnson explained. "I had to slam on the brakes and get turned and get underneath those guys to come in and I was pretty close to my box, so I assume that just threw the rhythm off the pit stop and somebody came off the wall early."

After the penalty, Johnson returned to the track outside of the top 15, a lap behind the leaders.

But the speed of the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet SS continued to flash for the remainder of the race as Johnson drove through the field to be the first car a lap down, finishing seventh.

"Certainly a mistake, but it’s not one that I’ve ever had happen on the No. 48 team," he said. "Thankfully, we had a strong car that we were only a lap down and still ended up seventh. I do feel like one got away, but very proud of this Lowe’s race team."

In the process, he joined teammate Chase Elliott in advancing to the Round of 12 in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

"I’m happy to be advancing -- we are certainly thrilled about that," Johnson said, "but feel like one got away today."


Thanks to his third-place finish at Dover, Elliott moved on to the next round in NASCAR's postseason.

Both Johnson and Elliott are still alive in the drive to a championsip.

"Definitely proud of the effort this whole Mountain Dew group," Elliott said. "Really, really cool to move on this weekend -- I’m proud of that."

The Round of 12 kicks off this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway and also features Kansas Speedway and a cutoff race at Talladega Superspeedway.

"Like I said, this group has been doing a really good job," Elliott said. "I’m proud of all these guys and we are excited to get on to Charlotte.”


Behind Elliott in third and Johnson in seventh, Jeff Gordon rounded out the top 10 with his 10th-place finish in the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS.

Just behind him was Kasey Kahne, who took home 12th place.

Next week at Charlotte, Alex Bowman returns as the substitute driver in the No. 88 Chevy SS. Gordon's next -- and final -- race behind the wheel of the No. 88 this year comes on Oct. 30 at Martinsville Speedway.