RIDGEWAY, Va. – Sunday at Martinsville Speedway, Chase Elliott led his teammates to the finish line in the opening race of the Round of 8 in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.
Elliott took the checkered flag in seventh.
He was followed to the line by Jimmie Johnson in 12th on a day when the driver of the No. 48 Lowe's for Pros Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 helped announce a new full-season sponsor for the 2019 season.
Alex Bowman finished 17th, while William Byron's day was cut short by a broken brake rotor. Byron was scored 39th.
Joey Logano won the race, securing the first spot in the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Below is a closer look at how the four Hendrick Motorsports drivers fared Sunday at Martinsville.
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 SUNENERGY1 CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Elliott started Sunday’s race battling inside the top 20, and by Lap 60 he had climbed all the way up to 11th. Twenty laps later, he was up to ninth, though he wasn’t able to maintain his top-10 position, just missing out on extra points by finishing Stage 1 in 11th.
- In Stage 2, Elliott quickly jumped back inside the top 10. He stayed consistent throughout the segment, climbing to eighth on Lap 155 and then seventh by Lap 225. He ultimately finished Stage 2 in seventh, picking up four extra points.
- As the final segment got underway, Elliott remained inside the top 10 through a caution with fewer than 120 laps to go. He headed to pit road and thanks to quick work by the No. 9 team, he won the battle off of pit road. Several competitors stayed on the track, however, and Elliott restarted ninth.
- With 55 laps to go, Elliott battled to move into seventh before a caution flag waved and he headed onto pit road for fresh tires and fuel. He returned to the track in eighth and maintained his top-10 position on the restart. He climbed back up to seventh before the checkered flag waved, taking home a seventh-place result.
WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 LIBERTY UNIVERSITY CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Leading his Hendrick Motorsports teammates to the green flag, Byron battled the handling of his No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 in the early stages of Sunday’s race. Within 60 laps, the rookie was battling just inside the top 20 in 19th, but he fell back to 29th when the green-checkered flag waved at the conclusion of Stage 1.
- On pit road before the start of Stage 2, a competitor made contact with Byron and spun him around in his pit box. It cost the No. 24 team valuable time, and shortly after Stage 2 began, Byron found himself a lap down in 32nd. Though he managed to gain positions throughout the second segment, he was passed once again by the leader to finish Stage 2 down two laps in 26th.
- Midway through the final segment, Byron spun and made contact with the wall, and a broken brake rotor made for a premature end to the driver’s day. He was scored 39th.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S FOR PROS CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Johnson began Sunday’s race at the rear of the field, but he got to work passing competitors as soon as the green flag dropped. Within 60 laps, he was knocking on the door of the top 20. However, a spin by the No. 48 Lowe’s for Pros Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 brought out a caution and sent Johnson to pit road. He was able to recover to climb back inside the top 20 and finish Stage 1 in 20th.
- In Stage 2, Johnson pushed forward inside the top 20 and was on the verge of the top 15 by Lap 155. He stayed consistent throughout the segment, but during a long green-flag run, the leader began to track down cars behind Johnson. In the final laps, the leader made it to Johnson’s bumper, but the driver of the No. 48 Chevy was able to hold him off to remain on the lead lap and finish Stage 2 in 14th.
- On Lap 280 in the race’s final segment, Johnson climbed to 11th, and just five laps later he entered the top 10. During a caution with fewer than 120 laps remaining, Johnson fell to 15th on pit road when several competitors remained on the track. He continued to climb through several more cautions, climbing to 12th on a restart with 37 laps to go. He maintained that position all the way through the checkered flag, finishing 12th.
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 NATIONWIDE CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Bowman began Sunday’s race just inside the top 15, though during a caution early in the race, he was penalized for speeding on pit road. That put him back in 30th on Lap 60, but the driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 quickly got back to work. He reached 15th on Lap 120 and held the position through the green-checkered flag to end Stage 1.
- In Stage 2, Bowman continued to run near the top 15, though he fell to 18th on Lap 225. Thirty laps later he had gained a position to 17th, but the leader passed him during a long green-flag run to drop Bowman a lap down. He finished Stage 2 in 17th down one lap.
- The final segment began with Bowman battling inside the top 20, still a lap behind the leader. He continued to battle to attempt to regain the lap, running 20th with 100 laps remaining. When a caution flag waved with 41 laps remaining, Bowman regained his lost lap and moved back onto the lead lap, restarting 17th when the green flag waved once again. He maintained that position across the finish line, taking home a 17th-place result.