FONTANA, Calif. – Sunday in Fontana, California, Chase Elliott led the way for Hendrick Motorsports at Auto Club Speedway.
Elliott narrowly missed a top-10 finish in the final race of the West Coast swing, taking the checkered flag in 11th.
He was followed to the finish line by William Byron in 15th, Jimmie Johnson in 17th and Alex Bowman in 21st.
Kyle Busch captured the win.
Below is a closer look at how the four Hendrick Motorsports teammates fared Sunday at Auto Club Speedway.
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Taking the green flag in eighth, Elliott fell to the tail end of the top 20 before a cycle of green-flag pit stops midway through the opening segment. When he returned to the track, he was running 17th and reported that his No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 was handling better following the stop. He advanced inside the top 15 as the laps wound down and finished Stage 1 in 13th.
- Starting Stage 2 in ninth, Elliott fell toward the rear of the top 20 before making a green-flag pit stop midway through the segment. When he returned to the track, he began a run toward the top 10, finding 10th with 12 laps to go in Stage 2. He held that position through the green-checkered flag to pick up an extra point by finishing Stage 2 in 10th.
- Quick work by the No. 9 team between stages allowed Elliott to gain five positions on pit road before the start of the final segment, taking the green flag inside the top five. He settled into third on the restart and held a top-10 position until shortly before making a green-flag pit stop. When a caution flag waved after Elliott had made his stop, he took a wave-around to return to the lead lap before taking the ensuing restart in 11th with 31 laps to go. He maintained that position for the remainder of the race, taking the checkered flag in 11th.
WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 AXALTA CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Byron began Sunday’s race in the 22nd position, but in fewer than 10 laps, he had gained 10 positions to move up to 12th. Before making his first green-flag pit stop of the day, however, the driver of the No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 had fallen back outside the top 20 – then all the way up to the race lead as competitors headed to pit road – in a back-and-forth first stage. He returned to the track in 26th and moved forward once again to finish Stage 1 in 19th after expertly avoiding contact in an incident on the final lap of the segment.
- Byron started Stage 2 just as quickly as the first, jumping from 19th at the green flag to inside the top 10 within a few laps. But Byron reported that just like in Stage 1, once tire grip went away during a run, the handling of the No. 24 Chevy was too tight. He fell outside of the top 15 before making a green-flag pit stop, returning to the track in 18th. He maintained to finish Stage 2 in 19th.
- Taking the restart for the final segment in 19th, Byron continued to run just inside the top 20 until making a green-flag pit stop midway through the segment. When a caution flag waved shortly thereafter in the middle of the cycle, Byron took a wave-around to avoid being stuck a lap down. He took the ensuing restart with 31 laps to go in 21st. Byron used the remainder of the race to advance into the top 15, crossing the finish line in 15th.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 ALLY CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Johnson rolled off the grid 11th Sunday afternoon, quickly jumping inside the top 10 in the opening laps of the race. Prior to making a green-flag pit stop, Johnson had advanced to sixth place, and when the field cycled through he was back on track in seventh. Holding on through a chaotic restart with just one lap to go in Stage 1, Johnson took the green-checkered flag in eighth to pick up three extra points.
- Taking the green flag to begin Stage 2 in sixth, Johnson held on to his top-10 position through a cycle of green-flag pit stops, returning to the track in 10th. Down the stretch, he fell just outside of the top 10 to finish Stage 2 in 12th.
- Starting the final segment in 15th, Johnson maintained his top-15 position until a green-flag pit stop. When a caution flag waved in the middle of the cycle, the No. 48 team took a wave-around to avoid being trapped a lap down. He took the ensuing restart in 16th with 31 laps remaining in the race. He held strong inside the top 20 to finish 17th.
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 NATIONWIDE CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Starting Sunday’s race 23rd, Bowman battled the handling of his No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 early in the event. Following a cycle of green-flag pit stops midway through the opening segment, Bowman was running 21st. He got back to work passing competitors down the stretch, utilizing a restart with one lap to go to advance up to 16th before the end of Stage 1.
- Early in Stage 2, Bowman jumped inside the top 10 for the first time of the day, reaching ninth within 20 laps. Following a cycle of green-flag pit stops, Bowman remained inside the top 15, though he lost two positions before the green-checkered flag waved to finish Stage 2 in 17th.
- Bowman began the final segment in 18th and continued to battle inside the top 20 until making a green-flag pit stop. A caution flag shortly thereafter trapped Bowman a lap down, but he took a wave-around before the ensuing restart to return to the lead lap. With 31 laps to go, he took the green flag in 20th. He remained consistent to take the checkered flag in 21st.