ELLIOTT’S TOP-10 FINISH
Chase Elliott started Sunday’s race at Texas near the rear of the field after failing to make a run in Friday’s qualifying session.
By Stage 2, he found himself inside the top 10 as he charged through the field from his 34th place starting position. Elliott maintained track position enough to finish the race in eighth, earning his 19th top-10 finish of the season. The driver credited good restarts for pushing him toward the front of the field.
“We had some good restarts there,” Elliott said. “And we were able to get some decent track position at times.”
The No. 24 Hooters Chevrolet SS team now has its focus squarely on next weekend’s race at Phoenix International Raceway, one final chance to join the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
“We will try our best out there and see what happens,” Elliott said.
JOHNSON’S TOUGH DAY
Jimmie Johnson took the green flag at Texas in ninth, but some small vibrations and tire rub sent him to pit road early in Stage 1 for an unscheduled stop. He finished the stage two laps down only to fall down another lap in Stage 2 after battling the handling of his No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS.
After a frustrating and difficult three stages of racing, Johnson finished 27th.
“It was just a bad day that just kept getting worse,” Johnson said. “I’m definitely disappointed. And I honestly just feel bad for my team.”
Looking ahead to Phoenix, Johnson said the team is ready to try to get locked into the championship round of the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.
“I know we’re building a better race car and taking a few new ideas to Phoenix,” Johnson said. “We’ll go there and fight as hard as we can.”
EARNHARDT TO THE GARAGE
Dale Earnhardt Jr. tackled Sunday’s race in his “Justice League” themed No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, rolling off the grid 17th.
He managed to stay inside the top 15 in the first two stages of the race. However, by the sixth caution of the race, Earnhardt was headed to the garage after burning his left-front hub. The No. 88 team had Earnhardt back out on the track during a restart with 60 laps to go, and he finished the race in 35th.
While the driver wasn’t pleased with the result from his last NASCAR Cup Series start at Texas, he noted that he still had a fun time.
“Yeah, it wasn’t bad,” Earnhardt said. “We’ve got to get a little bit better to beat some of them guys up there, but I was having a good time and the car wasn’t too bad.”