CaliConnection: How our California NASCAR drivers fared at Las Vegas

Several NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers have California connections, including 5-time Champion Jimmie Johnson who hails from El Cajon. Below is a roundup of how each Californian driver fared at the Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (March 8, 2011) --  California drivers battle in the desert, as several California drivers made their mark in the Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Sunday.  Below is how the Golden State drivers competed in this past weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event:

 
AJ Allmendinger 
No. 43 Best Buy Ford   
Hometown: Los Gatos  
9th in points

19th PLACE FINISH:  “I felt like overall we had a good car. We’d either be really good or we’d be a little bit loose and struggle on long runs. I felt like if we could have stayed green a long time we would’ve been really good. All in all, to start the season with an 11th and ninth place finish with as many wrecks as we’ve been in and not actually gotten wrecked is all right. We’ll take it.”


Jimmie Johnson  
No. 48 Lowe’s / KOBALT Tools Chevrolet 
Hometown: El Cajon  
12th in points

16th PLACE FINISH:  “Yeah, we started pretty far off but we made some real smart adjustments and got the car real close and then at the end we had a couple of bad things go our way,” said Johnson. “A bad stop, and lost track position. We didn’t adjust on it on one stop when we needed to and just started slipping back at the end. But for a while we had momentum going our way and we worked our way to a decent finish and then had a little trouble late.”


Jeff Gordon   
No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet  
Hometown: Vallejo  
19th in points     

36th PLACE FINISH:  "The day actually started out pretty good for the DuPont Chevrolet. We were further up toward the front than I thought we would be based on practice yesterday so pretty happy with that. But, the track kept tightening up and we just couldn't stay up with it so we started falling back a little bit on those restarts. We were definitely were fighting a tight condition right there, but I certainly wasn't expecting to blow a tire like that going into three. Thankful for the safer barrier here at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and a safe race car."


Kevin Harvick   
No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet  
Hometown: Bakersfield 
20th in points

17th PLACE FINISH: “Gil (Martin) and the guys on the Budweiser crew gave me a good car today. That speeding penalty killed us.  We got stuck back in traffic and just couldn’t go anywhere after that.”


David Gilliland   
No. 34 Taco Bell Ford   
Hometown: Riverside  
21st in points 

37th PLACE FINISH:  "It is a tough day for our Taco Bell Ford Fusion. I don't think we have seen a whole lot of tire issues through the weekend. That last lap we ran on the race track was as fast as we had run.  It was a hard hit, but I'm fine.”


Robby Gordon   
No. 7 SPEED Energy Dodge  
Hometown: Orange  
27th in points

31st PLACE FINISH:  “We were supposed to be good to go to the finish (on fuel), but ran out and turned a 27th-place finish into a 31st. The 27th would have been a decent day as bad as our race car was. We just don’t have a handle on it. We haven’t caught on to what it takes with the new nose. When you run with the leaders, you can almost run their speed; when you run with the guys in the back, you run their speed. It’s all relevant to the cars you have around you.”


Casey Mears   
No. 13 GEICO Toyota   
Hometown: Bakersfield  
33rd in points

25th PLACE FINISH:  “Sure, it was a tough day, but once again this GEICO team never gave up. We all remained calm and just kept working hard trying to get the car right and get a decent finish.  We could’ve very easily quit and just took a 35th place finish, but that’s not in us.”


Mike Skinner   
No. 32 Southern Pride Trucking Ford 
Hometown: Susanville  
44th in points

29th PLACE FINISH:  While Skinner is a veteran NASCAR driver, the Kobalt Tools 400 was Skinner’s second Sprint Cup race, where he qualified 29th and had a solid finish leading the 60th lap, finishing the race in 29th place.

 

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Driver Leaders:

Position, Driver, Points
1, TONY STEWART, 113
2, KURT BUSCH, 113
3, CARL EDWARDS, 106
4, JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, 106
5, RYAN NEWMAN, 103
6, PAUL MENARD, 96
7, MARTIN TRUEX JR., 95
8, DENNY HAMLIN, 95
9, AJ ALLMENDINGER, 94
10, DALE EARNHARDT JR., 91
11, MARK MARTIN, 91
12, JIMMIE JOHNSON, 87

 

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About Auto Club Speedway
Look for some amazing racing when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to Auto Club Speedway for the Auto Club 400 on March 27.  After October’s NSCS race, drivers, media and spectators proclaimed that race as possibly the best ever at Auto Club Speedway- five-wide racing at over 200 mph on the NASCAR circuit! 

Free parking, unbelievable menu items and a full weekend of entertainment, live music and fun await fans in the Speedway’s DiscoverIE FanZone. 

Auto Club 400 tickets start at $35 and AAA members receive Show Your Card & Save discounts, including a special section with half-priced tickets for kids 12 and under.  And don’t forget children 12 and under can sign up for the FREE Auto Club Speedway Lefty’s Kids Club membership to receive FREE admission on Friday and Saturday.

For more information or to purchase tickets call 800-944-RACE (7223), log on to www.autoclubspeedway.com or visit the Auto Club Speedway Ticket Office.


 

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