CALIFORNIACONNECTION: How our Cali NASCAR drivers fared at Charlotte

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 Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday, Oct. 16.


SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (October 18, 2010) – Southern California native Jimmie Johnson moved one race closer to his fifth straight Series Championship by driving his No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet to a third place finish in the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway over the weekend.  Fellow Californians Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon remained in the hunt for a championship with 8th and 23rd place finishes respectively.

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

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

3rd PLACE FINISH:  El Cajon native Jimmie Johnson padded his Sprint Cup Chase lead with a third place finish over the weekend.  Johnson now holds a 41-point lead over Denny Hamlin with only five races to go.  He finished in exciting fashion though as his No. 48 car spun on the 34th lap but emerged undamaged, allowing him to stage a comeback. “We proved we can come back, and we’ll hopefully have this fight in us the rest of the season,” Johnson said.

Kevin Harvick   
No. 29 Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet 
Hometown: Bakersfield   
3rd (-77)

8th PLACE FINISH:  Harvick and the No.29 Shell/Pennzoil team scored an eighth-place finish on Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway and maintained their position of third in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings.  It was Harvick's first Top 10 at CMS since 2003.  "I'm really happy. Everybody knows that has been our big struggle. Our goal was to come in here and get a single digit finish and we did that. The guys fought all night. I screamed and complained and the pit crew had a bad stop on the first one, then they were great the rest of the night. Hopefully that is something we can build on going forward. To get out of here with that finish tonight, we're really happy."

Jeff Gordon   
No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet  
Hometown: Vallejo  
4th (-156)

23rd PLACE FINISH:  "Yeah, it was not a lot of fun. We had about everything go wrong that could go wrong,” said Gordon of his 23rd place finish.  “Track position being crucial at this place. I've never seen it so sensitive. We lost a little bit of track position and then we had the battery issue which took me a little while to figure out. I've never had that happen before. I've had them stumble, but I've never had them just shut off. So, it took me a few seconds to figure that out. We lost a lap; and then speeding (on pit road) and a tire coming loose; we had it all happen.”

AJ Allmendinger
No. 43 Valvoline Ford  
Hometown: Los Gatos  

25th PLACE FINISH: Despite starting 3rd, Allmendinger was never able to make a run, finishing the day in 25th place.  Allmendinger did lead lap 26 of the 501-mile event.

Scott Speed   
No. 82 Red Bull Toyota  
Hometown: Manteca    

19th PLACE FINISH:  Speed was able to move up two positions after starting the race in 21st position. 

David Gilliland   
No. 38 Taco Bell Ford   
Hometown: Riverside  

28th PLACE FINISH:  The No. 38 Taco Bell Ford picked up 84 points on the day following a 28th-place finish.  The Riverside native remains in 33rd place in the points race.

Robby Gordon        
Hometown: Orange     

33rd PLACE FINISH:  With a driver rating of 38.2 on the day, Gordon brought home his No. 7 ExtenZe Toyota in 33rd place, starting the day in 39th.

Casey Mears  
No. 13 GEICO Toyota   
Hometown: Bakersfield  

Mears failed to qualify and remained in 37th place in the points standings on the year.

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, Jimmie Johnson, 5843, 0
2, Denny Hamlin, 5802, -41
3, Kevin Harvick, 5766, -77
4, Jeff Gordon, 5687 , -156
5, Kyle Busch, 5666, -177
6, Tony Stewart, 5666, -177
7, Carl Edwards, 5643, -200
8, Greg Biffle, 5618 , -225
9, Kurt Busch, 5606, -237
10, Jeff Burton, 5604, -239
11, Matt Kenseth, 5587, -256
12, Clint Bowyer, 5543, -300

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