CONCORD, N.C. – Hendrick Motorsports left Kansas Speedway Sunday with three top-10 finishes. Let's take a look at what we learned.
ELLIOTT 12TH IN STANDINGS
At the midway point of Sunday’s race, Chase Elliott had raced his way to the runner-up position. And on Lap 169, all his hard work paid off when he took the lead just before a round of green-flag pit stops.
When he returned to the track, however, the No. 24 SunEnergy1 Chevrolet SS experienced tire rub that forced Elliott back to pit road.
Down a lap, Elliott gained it back with a free pass during a caution with 34 laps to go, but shortly thereafter another tire issue sent him back to pit road.
“I don't know if we got the left rear getting up on the racetrack or something and it got into the fender and cut it down,” he said. "We were trying as hard as we can. We had such a good car today again. I don't know what to do but just keep after it and try to move on."
He ultimately finished 31st and is currently 12th in the standings as the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup heads to the final race of the Round of 12 at Talladega Superspeedway.
“We have something to be proud of in the way we have been running,” he said. “There are just some things we can't control.”
As for his plan at Talladega?
"Just go there and race our hearts out and try to win," Elliott said.
CREW CHIEFS CHIME IN
Hendrick Motorsports left Kansas with three top-10 finishes, and both Alex Bowman and Kasey Kahne contributed to that total with results of seventh and 10th, respectively.
After the race, Kahne tweeted that the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS was “a blast to drive,” and his crew chief was impressed by the team’s performance after tire rub put Kahne a lap down midway through the event.
Like Kahne, Bowman had to battle back from outside the top 20 in order to take home his top-10 result. In fact, he worked his way onto the lead lap after being down two segments to the leaders.
And just like No. 5 team crew chief Keith Rodden, No. 88 team crew chief Greg Ives was proud of his driver and team’s effort.
JOHNSON ‘EXCITED’ BY TEAM’S PERFORMANCE
Jimmie Johnson provided the third top-10 finish for the organization at Kansas, leading his teammates to the checkered flag in fourth.
That effort came after he started Sunday’s race from the 21st position.
“From a start perspective we knew we were going to have a tough task today to get to the front with the Lowe’s Chevrolet, but it was a very solid race car,” Johnson said.
The top-five finish came on the heels of his victory last week at Charlotte Motor Speedway – his third of the season.
And throughout the event, he felt like he had a chance to find Victory Lane once again.
“I think we had a shot at it,” he said, comparing his speed to that of the No. 19 and the No. 4 cars. “I had a lot of fun today, that is for sure, and this Lowe’s Chevy is running good. We are excited.”