CALIFORNIACONNECTION: How our Cali NASCAR drivers fared at Martinsville

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 Tums Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, Oct. 24.

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (October 25, 2010) – Southern California native Jimmie Johnson left Virginia holding on to a slim Chase points lead as he sets his goal on his fifth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.  Fellow Californians Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon remain in the top-five of the championship standings following the Tums Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

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  
1st

5th PLACE FINISH:  Johnson started 19th but quickly began moving up spots.  He fought a tight car all race but was able to finish fifth to keep a slim lead in the championship race over race winner Denny Hamlin. “Good top-five finish today. We certainly wanted to finish higher. But it's over and done with. It is what it is. Top five is something would have been a good goal coming in here this weekend. We're rolling into Talladega. We all know what can happen there. Happy to still be leading. Wish the margin had gone the other way. Denny won the race, closed it up. We'll buckle down, go to work the next four.”


Kevin Harvick   
No. 29 Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet 
Hometown: Bakersfield   
3rd (-62)

3rd PLACE FINISH:  Harvick had a tough starting position back in 36th.  He made the best of it by taking the lead on lap 377 and held the lead six times for a total of 97 laps. By the end of the race he finished in third place.  He gained 15 points on leader Johnson and was able to maintain his third place standing in the championship race.    “I just have to thank everybody on this Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet.  Those guys on pit road were just awesome today and really kept us up front and in the race.  That’s what we have to do. We kept the No. 48 (Johnson) behind us and the No. 11 (Hamlin) in sight.  Everybody said this was going to be a two-horse race, and we were right there in the middle of it.  So, today was a lot of fun.  We came here and finished third at a track that we never had a top-five finish.  Right now, we have four more weeks.  I’m really looking forward to Talladega and just racing hard.”


Jeff Gordon  
No. 24 DuPont/National Guard Families Appreciation Chevrolet  
Hometown: Vallejo  
5th (-203) 

20th PLACE FINISH:  Gordon started in the 11th position but had an on-track incident with the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge of Kurt Busch on lap 386. Prior to that, Gordon had led one time for 56 laps.  He was able to get back out on track and finished 20th.  This knocked Gordon down in the point standings one position to fifth.  “Well, our championship hopes have taken a big hit the last couple of weeks. So, for us, it's not about that right now, it about going out and getting the best finishes that we can and trying to win races. I felt like, at times, we had a car capable of winning today and that pit stop hurt us and we were back there battling our way back up there slowly but surely. And that incident, I gave him (Kurt Busch) a reason to get upset. So I wish I hadn't of done that. But, we were racing hard. And then what it does for us for the championship is really insignificant in my opinion. At this point we're just racing to try to get the best finishes and we'll continue to do that as we move forward.


AJ Allmendinger 
No. 43 Insignia HDTV Ford  
Hometown: Los Gatos   
20th

12th PLACE FINISH: Allmendinger started 15th and moved up three spots to finish 12th.


Scott Speed   
No. 82 Red Bull Toyota  
Hometown: Manteca    
27th

23rd PLACE FINISH:  Speed started 14th and finished 23rd due to an accident on lap186 with the car of Sam Hornish Jr. 


David Gilliland   
No. 37 Taco Bell Ford   
Hometown: Riverside  
33rd

37th PLACE FINISH:  In the Taco Bell Ford Gilliland started 39th and moved up two spots to finish 37th.


Robby Gordon        
Hometown: Orange     
34th

Gordon failed to qualify Sunday’s event.
 

Casey Mears   
No. 13 GEICO Toyota   
Hometown: Bakersfield  37th

40th PLACE FINISH: Mears started 20th but had electrical issues which ended his day on lap 271.  He did lead one lap.  He finished in 40th.
 

Boris Said        
Hometown: Carlsbad  
49th

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, 5998, 0
2, Denny Hamlin, 5992, -6
3, Kevin Harvick, 5936, -62
4, Kyle Busch, 5826, -172
5, Jeff Gordon, 5795 , -203
6, Carl Edwards, 5785, -213
7, Tony Stewart, 5762, -236
8, Jeff Burton, 5752, -246
9, Kurt Busch, 5721, -277
10, Matt Kenseth, 5705, -293
11, Greg Biffle, 5682, -316
12, Clint Bowyer, 5592, -406


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