Hendrick Motorsports Drivers Flex their Muscle at Monster Mile

DOVER, DELAWARE – OCTOBER 06: William Byron, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, leads Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Ally Chevrolet, during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Drydene 400 at Dover International Speedway on October 06, 2019 in Dover, Delaware. Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

While Chase Elliott exited the race before he could break a sweat, his teammates at Hendrick Motorsports proved there was speed in their engines.

Alex Bowman powered his way to a third-place finish at Dover following a second-place effort here in the Spring. Jimmie Johnson wheeled his No. 48 car to an eighth-place result and William Byron finished 13th.

Bowman was the only one from Hendrick’s stable who capitalized on that power, muscling his way by Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin late for his sixth top-five finish of the season.

But Bowman still saw room for improvement after qualifying 12th for Sunday’s race.

“I would’ve liked to have been a little better,” Bowman said. “I think we hurt ourselves not qualifying very well. But yeah, I mean it’s a testament to HMS. We had two miserable races here last year and we have a second and a third at Dover this year.

“Everybody wants that monster (trophy), but I think our cars have come a long way and we’re continuing to move in the right direction.”

Johnson was driving directly with Bowman for much of Sunday’s 400-lap contest but fell through the top-ten late in the race.

Still, the speed shown by the organization gave Johnson a dose of optimism for the 1.5-mile track of Kansas Speedway due in two weeks.

“I think Kansas we’re really excited for and feel that we can control our own destiny there,” Johnson said. “The high-downforce tracks, the Hendrick cars have been much more competitive. I know we’ve all been excited to get back to Kansas and build off of what we’ve had going on here in the last month or two.”

Byron was running sixth during green-flag pit stops around lap 184. But a pit-road speeding penalty ruined his chances of competing for a top-five finish.

The second-year driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet had the No. 2 pit stall from pit exit and thought he could peel out through the pit boxes to the yellow line without speeding. He and his team were burned and finished 13th two laps down.

“I got a really good launch out the pit box – probably a little too good,” Byron said. “I was kind of worried about it because I beat the (No.) 48 off pit road pretty good and it nipped us for sure.”