CONCORD, N.C. -- The longest race of the NASCAR Cup Series season began with a 100-lap Stage 1, and when the first green checkered flag of the 600-mile race waved at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Jimmie Johnson had worked his way inside the top five.
Johnson finished Stage 1 in fourth, picking up seven extra points for the race.
He was joined in the top 20 by Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 15th and Kasey Kahne in 18th.
Chase Elliott did not finish Stage 1. On Lap 20, Elliott was running fifth when he made contact with debris dropped by another car. The debris damaged the No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet SS, and a competitor ran into Elliott as the car dropped oil.
The multiple-car incident ended Elliott's day prematurely, and he was scored 38th at the end of Stage 1.
“It's so disappointing," Elliott said. "Our NAPA Chevy was going to be all right as the night went along. But the No. 33 broke something, I guess, and I hit it hard and I saw some fire. And I guess I was laying down some oil all at the same time. And Brad (Keselowski) couldn’t get stopped. I hate it. It’s such a bummer. We’ll just go after it again next week.”
All of the four stages Sunday at Charlotte are scheduled for 100 laps apiece.