CALIFORNIACONNECTION: How our Cali NASCAR drivers fared at Richmond

Several NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers have California connections, including four-time consecutive Champion Jimmie Johnson who hails from El Cajon. Below is a roundup of how each Californian fared in the Air Guard 400 at Richmond International Raceway Saturday, September 11.


SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (September 13, 2010) – Following this weekend’s Air Guard 400 at Richmond International Raceway three of the top-12 positions in the final Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup driver standing before the playoffs begin include three California drivers; Jimmie Johnson (2nd), Kevin Harvick (3rd) and Jeff Gordon (8th).

Below are how the Golden State drivers competed in this past weekend's Sprint Cup event:

Jimmie Johnson 
No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet  
Hometown: El Cajon  
2nd (-10)
3rd PLACE FINISH:  By finishing third at Richmond, Johnson earned his 10th top-5 finish in the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.  When the dust settled on the final standings going into the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship, Johnson was helped by his three wins that moved him from fifth seed in the top 12, to second.  “We have some great races coming up for this race team. I think the last couple of months our finishes haven't really been all that fair to how the team has been performing. We certainly had some bad races, but every team has that. We had some really good races with some bad luck and ended up with bad finishes. All-in-all I am excited about our chances going into it. Two great runs going into the Chase, I'm excited. I think this team is where it needs to be."


Kevin Harvick     
No. 29 Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet 
Hometown: Bakersfield   
3rd (-30)

9th PLACE FINISH:  After starting 20th, Harvick battled through the field in Richmond with a loose-handling car to finish ninth and earn his 17th top-10 finish.  This moved him from first in the standings to third behind fellow Californian Jimmie Johnson. “We were just too loose from the center of the corner and off all night.  I just never had the forward drive I needed, and I complained a lot tonight and we came home ninth.  That shows just how far we have come from last year.  If a ninth-place finish is a disappointment, then we are doing okay (smiles).  I’m really excited about the turnaround from last year.  The cars have run great all year, and the guys have done a great job.  We are as prepared as we have ever been for these final 10 races.”

Jeff Gordon   
No. 24 DuPont/Nat’l Guard Military Intelligence Chevrolet 
Hometown: Vallejo 
8th (-60)

12th PLACE FINISH:  Gordon spent part of the race in Richmond one-lap behind the leader, but was able to take advantage of NASCAR’s yellow flag “free pass rule” which allows the first car one lap down to go to the back of the field and be on the lead lap.  He never fell off the lead lap after that, but he was hoping for another caution that would allow him to move closer to the leaders.  "It was a heck of a battle for us because, when the green flag dropped, we went backwards," said Gordon. "We lost the lap and had to make some major adjustments.  By the end of the race, we had a really fast race car. We were really moving forward, and another caution could have really helped us out.  It's 10 races to go, and I think we have a really good shot at winning the championship."
AJ Allmendinger 
No. 43 Insignia HDTV Ford  
Hometown: Los Gatos   
8th PLACE FINISH:  Allmendinger had his fifth top-10 finish at Richmond when he brought the Insignia HDTV Ford across the start-finish line in eighth place.

Scott Speed  
No. 82 Red Bull Toyota  
Hometown: Manteca    
24th PLACE FINISH:  Speed finished just two laps off the lead lap when he started 31st.  He finished the race in Richmond in 24th place.

David Gilliland  
No. 37 Charter Air Transport Ford 
Hometown: Riverside  
20th PLACE FINISH:  Gilliland finished the race in 37th after starting 39th.

Robby Gordon       
Hometown: Orange     
Gordon did not compete in Saturday’s event.

Casey Mears  
No. 13 GEICO Toyota   
Hometown: Bakersfield  
21st PLACE FINISH:  Mears finished only two laps off the leader when he was 21st in Richmond.
Boris Said       
Hometown: Carlsbad  
Said did not compete in Saturday’s event.

Contenders for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs:

Pos, Driver, Points, Ldr
1, Denny Hamlin, 5060, 0
2, Jimmie Johnson, 5050, -10
3, Kevin Harvick, 5030, -30 
4, Kyle Busch, 5030 -30
5, Kurt Busch, 5020, -40
6, Tony Stewart, 5010, -50
7, Greg Biffle, 5010, -50
8, Jeff Gordon, 5000, -60
9, Carl Edwards, 5000, -60
10, Jeff Burton, 5000, -60
11, Matt Kenseth, 5000, -60
12, Clint Bowyer, 5000, -60

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