JOHNSON EARNS STAGE POINTS
Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS team scored extra points in Stages 1 and 2 Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Johnson took the green flag from the 12th position and quickly broke into the top 10 prior to the end of Stage 1, and held onto that position throughout the second segment. He earned bonus points for the top-10 results.
Unfortunately, Johnson was met with a challenge late in the race during a pit stop.
“We had a lug nut pop off when they went to index the wheel, so it was a longer pit stop than we had hoped for and fell from fifth to 15th or something, and just kind of finished there,” Johnson recalled. “It’s frustrating, for sure, but in the big picture we got some stage points.”
Although Johnson was pleased with the stage points his team acquired, he hopes to improve as the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs continue.
“We’ve definitely got to clean things up moving forward to advance through these rounds," he said.
ELLIOTT KEEPS FIGHTING
Despite a challenging weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Chase Elliott and the No. 24 team worked together to overcome their obstacles.
Elliott rolled off the grid 14th and after running within the top 20 throughout the race he was able to make progress in the final segment to secure an 11th place finish.
“Definitely a hard-fought 11th, for sure -- you hate to fight hard for 11th but we did,” Elliott said. “Considering our weekend, I thought this Kelley Blue Book team did a good job and to get this backup car out not having (No. 24 team crew chief) Alan (Gustafson) and (No. 24 team car chief) Josh (Kirk) here was a challenge and to finish where we did was a challenge.”
Elliott looks to make more progress at Dover, the next race of the playoffs.
“We will get on to Dover and hopefully improve there," he said.
MECHANICAL CHALLENGES FOR KAHNE
After taking the green flag in ninth place on Sunday, Kasey Kahne moved up to sixth place by Lap 10. Unfortunately, the handling of his car caused him to slip out of the top 10.
Kahne was met with additional challenges in the final segment. On Lap 262, the No. 5 go90 Chevrolet SS experienced mechanical problems involving the trackbar that brought the caution flag out, causing Kahne to bring his car to the garage for repairs.
The Chevy was mended and Kahne was able to return to the track on Lap 277. He finished in 35th.
“We were working hard. We got really loose that first run and then got control of the car,” Kahne shared. “And then it was really tough to pass, but we worked our way back up and were passing for 12th when that happened. Who knows how the final restarts go and all that, but we were making gains.”
Kahne thought the car had good speed and looks forward to the next race.
“I think we had a top-10 car if the restarts went the right way, otherwise a top-15 and we move on to Dover," he said.