Three of the four cars in the Hendrick stable had strong showings in Sunday’s action before heavy rains finally forced the suspension of the race until 1 p.m. today. Gates open at 11:30 a.m. for the final 296 laps of the Cup Series race.
Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson had a strong run in the early going of the race.
Johnson would like nothing better than to get his first win in his last 31 attempts and the 250th milestone win for team owner Rick Hendrick.
Fan favorite Chase Elliott struggled after an early crash that sent him several laps down.
It did not take long for Elliott to get caught up in the fury of Bristol.
Elliott was involved in the first wreck of the race on lap 4 after Michael McDowell’s car went spinning near the start-finish line on the front stretch.
Elliott spent several green-flag laps in the pits while his crew worked on his car throughout the long day for the driver and the team.
In the meantime, the 42-year-old Johnson, the veteran driver of the team, showed why he has seven Cup Series titles in his trophy case.
Johnson, who had to go to a backup car after wrecking his primary ride in practice Friday, started at the back of the field. But after 125 laps, which included a short rain delay and two red flags, Johnson piloted the famed No. 48 car to third place.
The first stage was also good for Hendrick drivers Alex Bowman and rookie William Byron. Bowman started the race eighth and was running 10th at the end of the first stage, even after being assessed a pit penalty. Byron finished the opening stage of the race just a couple of spots behind his teammate Bowman.
RACING THE WEATHER
NASCAR attempted to get lap 250 — to make the race official — before the heavy rains settled in. But the race went to lap 204 before being halted for the last time Sunday.
When the race resumes today, Johnson will begin in the eighth position, while Bowman will start 12th and Byron will be 15th in the field. All three will start on the lead lap.
Elliott will start 33rd, 22 laps down.