Five Chevrolet SS Drivers Finish in top 10

DOVER, Del. (October 1, 2017) – Chase Elliott looked to be on his way to his first career victory in the waning laps of the Apache Warrior 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race at Dover International Speedway, but a hard charging Kyle Busch (Toyota) eclipsed the young Chevy driver on the final lap to deny him his first MENCS victory. Elliott led three different times in his No. 24 NAPA Chevrolet SS for 138 laps, the most of any driver during the event. This marks Elliott’s fifth career runner-up finish in 70 Cup Series starts. The runner-up effort was his best finish in four races at the ‘Monster Mile.’

“I would have just done something different, I don’t know,” said a dejected Elliott. “I’m just so disappointed in myself. Golly, I couldn’t have had it any easier. It ran green from the stage break all the way to the end. And, I gave it away. I appreciate my team and their efforts today. The pit stops were great and they kept us in the ballgame. I didn’t.”

Elliott’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate, seven-time Cup Series champion, Jimmie Johnson brought his No. 48 home in the third position marking his 23rd top 10 finish in 32 races at Dover.

Kyle Larson, No. 42 Credit One Bank Chevrolet SS, led twice for 137 laps, but a problem with his engine mired him back in the field on a restart and he was unable to work his way back up to the top spot. The fifth-place effort is the 14th top five for Larson this season.

Following-up a seventh-place qualifying effort, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS team put in a solid effort at Dover ending the day in seventh to earn their fifth top-10 finish of 2017.

Jamie McMurray, No. 1 GearWrench Chevy SS, earned a ninth-place finish, giving Team Chevy five of the top 10 overall.

Kyle Busch (Toyota) was the race winner and Martin Truex, Jr. (Toyota) was fourth to round out the top five finishers.

Dover marked the first cutoff race of the 10-race Playoff for this seasons Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series title. Chevrolet entered the Playoffs with seven drivers in contention for the year-end title, more than any other manufacturer. After 400-laps/400-miles of racing around the ‘Monster Mile’, Chevrolet drivers Kyle Larson, Jimmie Johnson, Chase Elliott and Jamie McMurray will advance to the Round of 12, the next segment of the championship battle. Valiant efforts by Ryan Newman, Austin Dillon and Kasey Kahne were not enough to move them through to the next round, ending their quest for this season’s championship trophy.

The next stop on the MENCS schedule is Charlotte Motor Speedway located in Concord, North Carolina, which is home base for the majority of the NASCAR industry and teams. The Bank of America is scheduled for Sunday, October 8th at 2:00 pm, ET.


THE MODERATOR: We are joined by our second‑place finisher Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 24 Mountain Dew Chevrolet. Chase, a really strong run out there, obviously not quite the finish you were looking for, but you do move on to the Round of 12, so what does that mean for you and your team?
CHASE ELLIOTT: Not as much as the disappointment today, so that’s ‑‑ man, such a bummer, such a disappointment for my team. I don’t really have a whole lot to add.

Q. Chase, did you feel to the very end you have enough to hold on, or could you sense that he was coming?

CHASE ELLIOTT: It was all just lap traffic dependent. I thought if I had a clean track, I could have run as fast as he did, but I didn’t, and I should have done something different. So that’s just on me, and he did a better job than I did. At the end of the day that’s what it comes down to.

Q. Jimmie said that he said some stuff to you; does that make it any easier for you, knowing that other people have been there, too?

CHASE ELLIOTT: Well, you know, I certainly appreciate his friendship and him willing to come over and talk to me, but yes, I think that kind of shows the kind of person he is, but it doesn’t fix my lack of performance this afternoon.

Q. Chase, any solace in the fact that you and Jimmie did run up front and Jimmie said you could see the front for the first time in a while, that Hendrick is at least starting to make a push?

CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, I mean, I hope so. I hope. I mean, I don’t know. If I knew the future, I’d go lay some money down in Vegas or something, but I don’t know. So, we’ll see.


THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by our third‑place finisher, Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet. Really good run out there today for both you and your Hendrick teammate, so why don’t you just talk a little bit about that.
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Yeah, I think when we unloaded on Friday, we realized how much speed all of our Hendrick cars had. As we look back over the summer, it just seems like tracks with more banking, our combination works well, and we were able to exploit that this weekend. I wished I would have qualified better. I really think we had a shot at winning the race today, and at times I was better than the 24 and the 18 and was catching there at the end. I just never really had track position to race for the win. I finally got top 3 there on the last run and we were out of laps.
A solid day, though. Thankful to have SharkBite on the car this weekend and A.O. Smith, of course Lowe’s and our long‑standing relationship there. Charlotte is a great track for us, as well, and typically when we run well at Dover, it carries over to Charlotte, and we’re optimistic about next week, too.

Q. At the same time, you and Chase had two great finishes, what does it mean for Hendrick to have two strong cars like that? And it looked like you said something to Chase after it was over, such a heartbreaking loss for him. What did you share with him?

JIMMIE JOHNSON: I knew I couldn’t make him feel any better. I just wanted to check on him and turn him around where people couldn’t see his face and let him get those few first words and sentences out. I anticipated them being cuss words, and they were. So just trying to be there for him, let him vent, let him get those first few sentences out. I just know from my own experience it’s just nice to kind of vent and get through that. Clearly, he didn’t have much to say and he’s pretty bummed out about the situation. So is his team. They’re all gathered down there around the car. But mid‑week I’m sure they’ll work through this and find the silver lining and move on and go to Charlotte. They’re a fantastic race team. Chase is one heck of a driver, and look forward to whenever that celebration does happen.

Q. The situation that Chase faced there at the end, when you’ve got a car that appears to be fast and coming or coming every lap, what can you do beyond trying to cut laps that are a little bit faster, and at a track like this where blocking is not something you can really legitimately do? What else could he have done?

JIMMIE JOHNSON: Yeah, we did briefly touch on that when we were at his car for a few seconds, and the bottom usually prevails. I’m not sure, especially on a long run the outside has really ever worked here. The two or three runs before the final one, Kyle was dedicated to it, and I was able to hold him back just running the bottom.

So, I think Chase weighed his options out and knew that the bottom is where 90 some percent of these races have been won, if not 95 or more, and stuck with that. I think he had more trouble with the lap cars that were in front of him. I think there was some cars fighting to stay on the lead lap that really, I think, hurt the performance of his car, and the 18 had a straightaway of clean air to really chip away at the lead and get to him. I feel like lap traffic probably played a bigger role in it than anything.