BRISTOL, Tenn. – Kyle Larson, Alex Bowman and Chase Elliott each scored top-10 finishes for Hendrick Motorsports in the dirt race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
The trio of top-10 results on Easter Sunday saw the organization become the first to cross 2,000 top-10 finishes in the NASCAR Cup Series. The Bristol results give Hendrick Motorsports a total of 2,002 as a team. That mark is over 600 more than the next closest team.
Larson finished a team-best fourth, which was his fourth top-five finish of the season. He led the final 27 laps of stage one to grab his first stage win of 2022.
"We had a good No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevy all night," Larson said. "We could have been a lot better, but I still feel like we had a car capable of winning if things played out differently. I think the weather kind of had everyone on the fence on what to do.
"Getting back up there to the top-five was good. I wasn’t sure if we could get it done restarting 20-something to start the final stage. I had a lot of fun and hopefully next year, we can get our car a little better and run towards the front even more."
Bowman overcame a pair of stage two incidents to finish sixth. That finish marks his fifth top-10 result this year, which is a personal best for him through the first nine races of a season.
Elliott used the final 28-lap green flag run to surge up to eighth for his sixth top-10 finish of the season. He also maintains the points lead heading into next weekend’s race at Talladega Superspeedway. William Byron finished in 18th on the night.
Kyle Busch won the event at the Tennessee track following last-lap contact between Tyler Reddick and Chase Briscoe.
There were two red flags for rain – one at the end of stage two and then another with 28 laps to go.
See how the organization fared on Easter Sunday at the .533-mile track.
Kyle Larson, No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Where he finished: 4th
Stage one: Larson started fifth in Sunday’s race. By lap eight, he was up to fourth and pursuing Tyler Reddick for third. The No. 5 pitted during the lap 16 mandatory pit stop under caution to clean the grill and windshield. The reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion was up to second on lap 27 as he looked to run down Chase Briscoe for the lead. On lap 49, Larson assumed the point position after Briscoe hit the wall and suffered a flat tire. He would lead the remainder of the stage to nab his first stage win of 2022.
Stage two: Larson pitted during the stage break and restarted fourth as three cars (Daniel Suarez, Ross Chastain and Briscoe) stayed out. He wasted no time moving ahead of Chastain and Briscoe for second while chipping away at the lead of Suarez. On the lap 97 restart, Larson lost some ground to Chastain and was running in third when a caution flew a lap later. Larson lost a few spots on lap 106 before settling into sixth place until the lap 115 caution. Attacking on the lap 119 restart, Larson jumped up to third with Suarez and Christopher Bell in his sights. On the lap 132 restart, the Elk Grove, California, native lost ground and dropped to sixth before the ninth caution came out. He would finish the stage in sixth.
Final stage: Larson pitted under the stage break and restarted 22nd. When the lap 163 caution fell, the winner of this year’s race at Auto Club Speedway was scored in 20th. On the next restart, Larson picked up a few spots to be scored in 17th when a quick yellow came out. Following the lap 184 restart, the two-time Chili Bowl Nationals winner grabbed several spots in the first few laps of the run to jump to 12th. Larson rejoined the top 10 on lap 201 with a pass on Michael McDowell. He climbed up to seventh during the lap 211 restart. He rejoined the top five on lap 232 with passes on Ryan Blaney and Bell. The contact between Tyler Reddick and Briscoe allowed Larson to grab fourth place.
Ally Bowman, No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Where he finished: 6th
Stage one: Bowman rolled off the grid from the eighth starting spot. By lap 10, the Tucson, Arizona, native was up to seventh. The No. 48 pitted during the lap 16 mandatory pit stop under caution to clean the grill and windshield. The seven-time Cup Series winner had a strong lap 56 restart to jump up to the top five. A big slide towards the end of the stage allowed Kyle Busch to grab fifth-place from Bowman. He would go on to finish the stage in sixth.
Stage two: Bowman pitted during the stage break and restarted ninth. The driver of the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 got bottled up in traffic on the restart and was back to 13th on lap 81. Running 14th on lap 92, Bowman spun in turn four to bring out the fifth caution of the race. He would restart from the 32nd-place position on lap 97. Bowman was involved in an accident with Noah Gragson, Kevin Harvick and Corey LaJoie on the backstretch on lap 99. The accident left Bowman with some body damage on the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and in the back half of the field as he would finish the stage in 25th.
Final stage: Bowman and crew chief Greg Ives elected to stay out during the stage break and that set them up to restart 13th. The winner of this year’s race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway rejoined the top 10 on lap 153 and was scored in ninth at the lap 161 caution. He rejoined the top 10 on lap 176 and moved up to ninth on lap 200. He picked off one more spot on the lap 211 restart to be scored in eighth. He grabbed seventh from Christopher Bell on lap 232 and picked up another spot following the last-lap contact between Tyler Reddick and Chase Briscoe.
Chase Elliott, No. 9 Kelley Blue Book Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Where he finished: 8th
Stage one: Elliott opened the race from the ninth position but dropped back to 11th on lap 10. The No. 9 pitted during the lap 16 mandatory pit stop under caution to clean the grill and windshield. Off the ensuing lap 26 restart, Elliott dropped five spots in the next five laps before settling in 16th. As the run continued, he started to pick off a few spots and was running 13th when the lap 51 caution flew. At the end of stage one, the reigning Most Popular Driver Award winner was running 12th.
Stage two: Elliott pitted following the stage break and restarted 15th. The stage two restart was not kind to Elliott, who dropped back to 19th on lap 81. From there, he made gains over the run and was up to 14th when the lap 93 caution came out. Quick work on the lap 97 restart saw the Dawsonville, Georgia, native move up to 11th when an accident occurred on lap 99. The driver of the No. 9 Kelley Blue Book Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 entered the top 10 on lap 109. By the time the lap 127 caution came out, he had just passed Ross Chastain for sixth. On the lap 132 restart, he grabbed three more spots to jump up to third, passing teammate Kyle Larson along the way. On the lap 140 restart, Elliott pursued Chase Briscoe and Daniel Suarez for the lead before finishing the stage in fourth.
Final stage: Elliott pitted under the stage break and restarted 21st. When the lap 163 caution came out, he was scored in 24th. Under yellow, the No. 51 of Cody Ware made contact with the right rear of Elliott’s No. 9 and both drivers expressed frustration with the other over the radio. Elliott was scored in 25th when the yellow came out on lap 163 and in 24th when the lap 170 caution came out. The 2020 Cup Series champion gained ground after the lap 184 restart as he was up to 17th within the first 10 laps of the run. At the time of the final red flag, Elliott was scored in 14th. On lap 239, he rejoined the top 10 and made a pass on Michael McDowell for ninth. The contact between Tyler Reddick and Briscoe allowed Elliott to grab eighth.
William Byron, No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Where he finished: 18th
Stage one: Last weekend’s winner at Martinsville started 19th. The No. 24 was 17th when he pitted during the lap 16 mandatory pit stop under caution to clean the grill and windshield. Byron lost a few spots off the lap 26 restart before settling in at 22nd. The latter half of the stage saw Byron grab a few spots to end the 75-lap segment in 16th.
Stage two: Byron pitted during the stage break and restarted 19th. Two quick cautions early in the stage didn’t see his position change. The Charlotte, North Carolina, native stayed mired down in the back half of the field and couldn’t quite get find the forward momentum during stage two. He would finish the stage in 18th.
Final stage: Byron and crew chief Rudy Fugle elected to stay out under the stage break. That set them up to restart eighth. The track position play paid off early in the run as he moved up to sixth on lap 153. At the time of the lap 163 caution, Byron was scored in seventh. On the ensuing restart, he lost a few spots and was scored in 11th. The low lane was not the place to be on restarts as it struggled to get going and Byron continually seemed to find himself there as cautions flew during the final stage. Ultimately, he would go on to finish in 18th.