AVONDALE, AZ – The start of the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season has been miserable for the entire Hendrick Motorsports organization. But, Sunday’s TicketGuardian 500 at the ISM Raceway in Phoenix on Sunday, was cause for hope for the storied organization.
Rookie William Byron led his first laps of his Cup career, leading 15 circuits around the 1.022-mile Arizona track on Sunday. He’d finish a career best 12th.
Alex Bowman and Jimmie Johnson finished 13th and 14th respectively to put all four Hendrick cars in the top 15 in the race. For Johnson, it was his first finish on the lead lap all year, as he finished one lap down last week in Vegas and finished 12th. In Atlanta, he was three laps off the pace in 27th. At Daytona, he crashed out on Lap 59 and finished 38th.
But, for Chase Elliott, Sunday was big for him too.
Elliott, was a favorite to not just finally get to victory lane in 2018, but a championship factor too. Unfortunately, he’s had some bad luck to start 2018 too.
He was caught up in a crash at Daytona and finish 33rd. In Atlanta, he was a non factor all day and finish 10th. Last week at Vegas, he was caught up in another crash and come home 34th.
Today though, he was in the top five in third in his No. 9 Chevrolet. It was his second straight top five finish in the desert and fourth top 10 in five tries at Phoenix.
This was a great weekend for Hendrick to build off of.