CONCORD, N.C. – A strong effort Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway saw all four Hendrick Motorsports teammates take the checkered flag inside the top 15.
Chase Elliott led the way with his fifth top-five finish of the season, taking home a fifth-place result. He also captured his first stage win of the season, leading the final 19 laps of the middle segment en route to the Stage 2 victory.
“I hope we can keep it rolling because that was really nice to be able to go up there and lead some laps," Elliott said. "I know it wasn’t in the right part of the race, but, still, leading laps for us is big.”
With the Stage 2 victory, Elliott also earned 10 extra points and a valuable playoff point. He also picked up nine additional points with a second-place finish in Stage 1.
With only six more races before the playoffs begin, the performance gave the driver of the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 an important points boost.
“It was a huge points day for us,” said Elliott, who is 15th in the playoff standings. “Obviously, we’d love that win to not have to worry about it. But, we got 19 points between the two Stages, that’s 19 positions on-track, and that’s a lot. Anything can happen in these next few weeks and to have all you can get is really important.”
Jimmie Johnson joined his teammate inside the top 10 with his seventh top-10 result of the season, crossing the checkered flag in 10th. After starting the day in 21st, Johnson battled to gain 18 positions throughout Stage 1 to finish the opening in third, earning eight points.
An eighth place finish in Stage 2 saw the driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s for Pros Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 tack on three more points, picking up 11 total points between his pair of top-10 stage finishes.
Johnson, like Elliott, also knows that every point is crucial with the playoffs rapidly approaching.
“We scored some great points in the stages,” said Johnson, who is two points ahead of Elliott in the 14th position. “All-in-all, we had a good day. Always could be better, but a nice, solid step forward.”
Alex Bowman, who is currently in the cut-off position as the 16th driver in the playoff standings, didn’t pick up any stage points, but earned a valuable 11th-place finish.
“Really proud of (No. 88 team crew chief) Greg (Ives) and everybody for getting the car better there at the end,” Bowman said. “Had a good restart there and almost got a top-10.”
He now sits 28 points ahead of the 17th-place competitor, which would be the first driver on the outside looking in when the playoffs begin.
The 10-race playoffs begin at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sept. 16.