CaliConnection: How our California NASCAR drivers fared at Martinsville

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 California driver fared at the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway.


SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (April 4, 2011) – Beating and banging were the words of the day at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday.  For the second straight week, California native Kevin Harvick took the win in a spectacular finish.

Below is how other Golden Staters fared in this past weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event:

Jimmie Johnson
No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet   
Hometown: El Cajon  
3rd in points

11th PLACE FINISH: A speeding penalty on pit road took Johnson out of contention Sunday.  Despite finishing outside of the Top 10, he had a solid day and was able to gain two spots in the points standings.  “We would have had a shot at it. You would hope you can race for it. I am disappointed about that. It just stinks to have that taken away from me at the end. But that is racing. Not the first guy to get dinged on pit road and thinking it wasn’t his fault. I know it won’t be the last so we will just go on.”

Kevin Harvick   
No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet  
Hometown: Bakersfield 
5th in points

1st PLACE FINISH: In another exciting finish, Harvick became the first driver to take home a second victory of the season by leading the final laps of the Goody’s Fast Relief 500. “Just an awesome day. I didn’t think we had the car to do that and just came back up through there.  I had a lot of fun racing with Dale Jr, and I hate to be the guy that is the bad guy here but we are in it to win it.”

Jeff Gordon   
No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet 
Hometown: Vallejo  
12th in points    

5th PLACE FINISH:  Coming off a disappointing week, Gordon finished in the 5th spot and made his way into the Top 12 in points.  He also picked up valuable bonus points when he led on 3 separate occasions. “I was real proud of Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) and all the guys on this team today. We weren't great at the beginning. We just worked our way up there slowly, took our time and were patient. Then we had a racecar that could run with these guys and we got there and took the lead,” he said. “I thought it was an awesome day for us to drive up there to fifth at the end."

AJ Allmendinger  
No. 43 Best Buy Ford   
Hometown: Los Gatos  
14th in points

14th PLACE FINISH:  After starting in 6th place, Allmendinger finished in the 14th position and gained one spot in the points. “My guys did a great job all day with the car.  I ran with some of the best ever here at Martinsville between Denny (Hamlin), Jimmie (Johnson) and Jeff (Gordon).  I was there, so at least I’ll have confidence with that.  We just need some good luck.”

David Gilliland   
No. 34 Taco Bell Ford   
Hometown: Riverside  
29th in points 

33rd PLACE FINISH:  Despite a tire issue on lap 53, Gilliland was able to salvage his day with a 33rd place finish and remain in the top 35 in points.  "We definitely learned what we need to work on.  We've got to figure the tire situation out.  It's too bad that it knocked us back early because we had a pretty good Taco Bell Ford. "

Robby Gordon   
No. 7 Fast Five / SPEED Energy Dodge 
Hometown: Orange  
31st in points

23rd PLACE FINISH:  Although he was involved in a wreck on lap 232, Gordon gained 11 spots and took home a 23rd place finish; he also jumped up one spot in the points. “We had a really good car today until somebody got into me and shoved me into another car.  That messed the front end up; it seemed to overheat at that point.  We had to pull some tape off which made the car tighter.  It was an OK day.”

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

36th PLACE FINISH:  Dropping six spots from his starting spot, Mears run was good enough to keep him in the Top 35 in points, leaving him in 33rd place.

Mike Skinner   
No. 60 Big Red Toyota   
Hometown: Susanville  
47th in points

42nd PLACE FINISH:  While Skinner is a veteran NASCAR driver, the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 was Skinner’s third Sprint Cup race of the 2011 season, where he qualified 38th.  Due to a brake issue he finished the race in 42nd place.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Driver Leaders:

Position, Driver, Points
1, KYLE BUSCH, 219
4, KURT BUSCH, 205
10, MARK MARTIN, 181
12, JEFF GORDON, 170


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