CALIFORNIACONNECTION: How our Cali NASCAR drivers fared at Texas

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-10 in championship points. Below is a roundup of how each Californian fared in the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday, Nov. 7.

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (Nov. 8, 2010) – With only two races to go, Southern California native Jimmie Johnson lost his slim lead in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings when Denny Hamlin won Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Fellow Californian Kevin Harvick remained in third-place in the standings by finishing sixth and Jeff Gordon remained in the top-10 of the championship standings in sixth.

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 (-33)

9th PLACE FINISH:  Starting 17th Johnson was in the top-10 throughout the first half of the race even leading the event at on lap 110 before finishing ninth.  Johnson now trails new leader Denny Hamlin by 33 points. “Yeah, it's not where we want to be, but there's a lot of racing left. There are no guarantees what's going to happen. At some point the championship run will come to an end and I'm going to try my hardest to make sure it's not this year, but we'll come back next week and try again.”


Kevin Harvick   
No. 29 Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet 
Hometown: Bakersfield   
3rd (-59)

6th PLACE FINISH:  Starting from the 26th position, Harvick was able to lead the race on lap 245 and finished his day in 6th, now 59 points behind leader Hamlin.  He also overcame debris on his grill twice which caused the water temperature in his car to climb.  With 14 laps remaining in the race Harvick encountered more trouble when he hit the outside wall on turn four. He finished in the top-10 (sixth).    “We had a good car. To tell you the truth, I didn’t think we’d be anywhere in the hunt after practice, and Gil (Martin) and all the guys did a great job getting the car ready. When it got dark, our Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet just went really loose, and we hit the wall.  The pit crew was awesome today.  We gained a ton of positions on pit road.  We are still in this thing, and we are definitely looking forward to Phoenix.”


Jeff Gordon   
No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet  
Hometown: Vallejo  
6th (-331) 

37th PLACE FINISH:  Gordon started 15th at Texas. On lap 192 as he was slowing for a caution, Gordon had an accident with Jeff Burton.  It ended his day and he finished in 37th.  “If somebody does something stupid, I'm going to be mad about it and I'm going to show him my frustration. If I could have gotten to Kurt Busch after Martinsville it would have been the same thing. I didn't see him. And I had time to calm down. And I walked down there hoping I would see Jeff, and I did. I'm lucky I had a long enough walk to think about what I wanted to say and do because if I hadn't of had that long a walk, I would have done something I would have regretted.”

 

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

14th PLACE FINISH: Allmendinger started in the top-10 (10th).  He finished out the top-10 in 14th.

 

Scott Speed   
No. 82 Red Bull Toyota  
Hometown: Manteca    
29th

27th PLACE FINISH:  Speed started 23rd and finished 27th. 


David Gilliland   
No. 38 Taco Bell Ford   
Hometown: Riverside  
32nd

29th PLACE FINISH:  Gilliland started 33rd in the No. 38 Taco Bell Ford.  He led early in the race on lap 44. He finished in 29th one lap behind the leader.


Robby Gordon   
No. 7 MAPEI/Menards Toyota  
Hometown: Orange     
34th

35th PLACE FINISH: Gordon started 39th in Texas.  He led the cars on lap 14.  Ultimately, his car faced engine problems and he finished his race on lap 240.  He finished in 35th.
 

Casey Mears   
No. 13 GEICO Toyota   
Hometown: Bakersfield  
36th

26th PLACE FINISH: In the No. 13 Geico Toyota Mears started 35th.  He was able to lead one lap and finished one lap down in 26th.


Boris Said        
Hometown: Carlsbad  
51st

Said did not compete in Sunday’s event.


Contenders for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs:

Pos, Driver, Points, Ldr
1, Denny Hamlin, 6325, 0
2, Jimmie Johnson, 6292, -33
3, Kevin Harvick, 6266, -59
4, Carl Edwards, 6008, 317
5, Matt Kenseth, 6000, -325
6, Jeff Gordon, 5994, -331
7, Kyle Busch, 5986, -339
8, Tony Stewart, 5962, -363
9, Greg Biffle, 5953, -372
10, Clint Bowyer, 5928, -397
11, Kurt Busch, 5890, -435
12, Jeff Burton, 5852, -473


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