CALIFORNIACONNECTION: How our Cali NASCAR drivers fared at Auto Club Speedway

Several NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers have California connections including California Chase contenders Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon who are in the top-five in championship points. Below is a roundup of how each Californian fared in the Pepsi MAX 400 at Auto Club Speedway Sunday, October 10.


SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (October 11, 2010) – With an incredible finish to the Pepsi MAX 400 at Auto Club Speedway, the three California drivers in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup finished in the top-10.  Finishing third Jimmie Johnson was able to increase his lead as he seeks his fifth championship.  Kevin Harvick who finished seventh is currently third (-54) and Jeff Gordon, who finished ninth, is now fourth in the Chase points (-85).

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

Jimmie Johnson  
No. 48 Lowe’s / Jimmie Johnson Foundation Chevrolet 
Hometown: El Cajon  

3rd PLACE FINISH:  Johnson started eighth, lead three times for a total of 22 laps but could only manage a third place finish.  He was able to increase his lead by 36 points over Denny Hamlin.  “Our race today was kind of up and down, led some, ran fifth and sixth some and just kind of worked on the car and towards the end of the race got things going in the right direction.  I think if it stayed green I was really taking a lot -- I was taking big chunks off of Tony's (winner Stewart) lead right before that caution came out. If it stayed green, I think there would have been a good race for the win. The caution, we got going, got off at turn 2 in second, which was good, and I thought I could really fly around the top of 3 and 4 and try to get to Tony's outside, and as I was busy focused on the 14 (Bowyer) drove up inside me and got by me and did a good job and got his car in there and took second spot.”

Kevin Harvick   
No. 29 Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet 
Hometown: Bakersfield   
3rd (-54)

7th PLACE FINISH:  Harvick started 21st and kept his chances for a shot at the championship alive when he moved up to finish seventh at Auto Club Speedway.

Jeff Gordon   
No. 24 DuPont/Pepsi MAX Chevrolet 
Hometown: Vallejo  
4th (-85)    

9th PLACE FINISH:  Gordon took advantage of being at his home track.  He started 17th, lead twice for a total of 11 laps and moved up one spot to fourth in the drivers standings.  “We were all playing bumper cars down the back straightaway. I went for a hole in (turns) 3 and 4 and the car stuck.  It was a great team effort to come back and finish ninth.”


AJ Allmendinger  
No. 43 Valvoline Ford   
Hometown: Los Gatos   

19th PLACE FINISH:  Starting from the 30th position, Allmendinger was able to make a good day of his efforts at Auto Club Speedway.  He was able to get onto the lead lap and finish the day in 19th.

Scott Speed   
No. 82 Red Bull Toyota  
Hometown: Manteca    

24th PLACE FINISH:  Speed started 29th and finished 24th.

David Gilliland   
No. 38 Taco Bell Ford   
Hometown: Riverside  

20th PLACE FINISH:  Gilliland started 32nd and finished 20th.

Robby Gordon        
Hometown: Orange     

Gordon did not compete in Sunday’s event.

Casey Mears   
No. 13 GEICO Toyota   
Hometown: Bakersfield  

25th PLACE FINISH:  Mears started 12th and finished 25th.

Boris S aid        
Hometown: Carlsbad  

Said did not compete in Sunday’s event.


Contenders for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs:

Pos, Driver, Points, Ldr
1, Jimmie Johnson, 5673, 0
2, Denny Hamlin, 5637, -36
3, Kevin Harvick, 5619, -54
4, Jeff Gordon, 5588 -85
5, Tony Stewart, 5566, -107
6, Kurt Busch, 5533, -140
7, Carl Edwards, 5511, -162
8, Jeff Burton, 5496 -177
9, Kyle Busch, 5486 -187
10, Greg Biffle, 5458, -215
11, Matt Kenseth, 5432, -241
12, Clint Bowyer, 5426, -247

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