CONCORD, N.C. – Jimmie Johnson came close to the $1,000,000 purse Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway, ultimately taking the checkered flag in third place in the NASCAR All-Star Race.
"I just drove too hard," Johnson said afterward. "I could see $1,000,000 out the windshield."
Johnson and teammate Chase Elliott were two of the 10 drivers to advance to the final, 10-lap sprint to the finish. Johnson fell to third on the very last lap of the race, and Elliott wasn’t far behind with a seventh-place result.
Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr. were eliminated from contention after Stage 3 and were scored 16th and 18th, respectively.
Kyle Busch earned the victory.
Below is a closer look at how the four Hendrick Motorsports teammates fared in the All-Star Race.
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 MOUNTAIN DEW CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Starting 13th, Kahne got to work early, gaining a position on the first lap. With six laps he had entered the top 10, and after the 20 laps of Stage 1 had elapsed, the driver of the No. 5 Mountain Dew Chevrolet SS was running 10th. He gained a position on pit road and began Stage 2 in ninth, battling on the edge of the top 10 throughout the segment until the final four laps. By the end of the second stage, he found himself in 15th. The No. 5 team then decided to utilize the one-time set of four option tires – which provide better grip and therefore more speed, but give up faster – to begin Stage 3. He ultimately finished Stage 3 in 16th. With only the top 10 drivers based on average finish in the first three stages making the final sprint to the finish, Kahne did not advance past Stage 3. He was scored 16th.
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 24 MOUNTAIN DEW CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: After fans voted him into the All-Star Race, Elliott started the event in 20th. The No. 24 team elected to utilize the one-time set of four option tires – which provide better grip and therefore more speed, but give up faster – to start the race. It allowed him to gain seven positions and finish Stage 1 in 13th. He gained a position on pit road and began Stage 2 in 12th. He continued to push forward throughout the segment, finishing in 10th. In Stage 3, he settled into 11th before making slight contact with the wall, falling back to 12th in the process. He recovered to move into 10th with five laps remaining in Stage 3 and jumped all the way to eighth before the end of Stage 3. He began the final stage in 10th after making an additional pit stop to repair right-side damage. He continued to battle forward in the sprint to the finish, taking the checkered flag in seventh.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Johnson starting Saturday night’s race in fourth, and though he lost a position on the first lap, he remained inside the top five. By Lap 6 he had regained his starting position of fourth and held it for the remainder of the 20-lap Stage 1. The No. 48 team elected to utilize the one-time set of four option tires – which provide better grip and therefore more speed, but give up faster – to begin Stage 2 and restarted fourth. On the restart, he jumped outside and quickly moved to third, finding second within three laps. He maintained the position for the remainder of the segment, finishing Stage 2 as the runner-up. He began Stage 3 in fourth as two competitors ahead of him elected to take just two tires on pit road. On the second lap of the segment, he took over the race lead and maintained it to win Stage 3. He won the race off pit road and began the final stage in second as one competitor stayed off of pit road. As he was chasing down the leader as the runner-up, he was passed on the final lap to finish third.
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 AXALTA CHEVROLET SS
RECAP: Earnhardt rolled off the grid sixth to begin the All-Star Race, but battled the handling of the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS for much of the first stage. He finished the 20-lap Stage 1 in 16th. After a trip to pit road, Earnhardt began Stage 2 still in 16th. In the second segment, he fell three more positions to finish Stage 2 in 19th. In Stage 3, he quickly gained a position to 18th, but made contact with the wall and fell back to 19th. He gained one more position to finish the segment in 18th. With only the top 10 drivers based on average finish in the first three stages making the final sprint to the finish, Earnhardt did not advance past Stage 3. He was scored 18th.