CaliConnection: How our Cali NASCAR Drivers fared at Dover

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 FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway.


SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (May 16, 2011) – Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 Wiley X Sunglasses Ford, slayed “The Monster Mile”, a nickname given to Dover International Speedway for the havoc it creates for both car and driver, when a race winning two-tire change was called on the final pit stop.  The victory is the second of the year and the second at Dover for Kenseth.  Below is how our Golden Staters fared in Sunday’s “FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event:

Jimmie Johnson  
No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet       
Hometown: El Cajon  
2nd in points

9th PLACE FINISH: After starting on the pole and leading 207 laps, Johnson was beaten off pit road when he took four tires under a late race caution and finished in the 9th position. Johnson remains number two in the points standings and trails leader Carl Edwards, No. 99 Aflac Ford, by 24 points. “It was certainly the call (two tires). I knew basically from the numbers we were in trouble when we left pit road and there were so many guys in front of us. It is just the way it is. We had a great race all day. Led a lot of laps but unfortunately, not the one at the end that counted.” 

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

10th PLACE FINISH: Ten was the number of the race for Kevin Harvick.  He started in the 10th spot, stayed in the top-10 all-day and finished in the 10th position. Harvick remains in the 5th spot in points.

Jeff Gordon   
No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet  
Hometown: Vallejo  
14th in points    

17thPLACE FINISH:  Gordon started the night in the 21st position and stayed in the top-20 for most of the race. Although he was critical of the tires that Goodyear brought to Dover, he came home in the 17th position and gained three spots in the points, leaving him 29 points out of the top-10. “Be nice to have a tire that doesn’t put quite as much rubber down.  It would really be nice if NASCAR could figure out a way to clean the rubber off on the cautions,” Gordon said.  “Kind of makes it a one grove race track.”

AJ Allmendinger  
No. 43 Best Buy Ford   
Hometown: Los Gatos  
16th in points

37th PLACE FINISH:  Allmendinger started on the front row, led one lap and ran in the top-10 until his engine blew leaving him with a 37th place finish. “We were going to run them down (the leaders) and all of a sudden off of two it went. It was getting steadily worse.  All the guys at the engine shop do a great job. We had a ton of horsepower and this rarely happens. I really wanted this for us and Ford and Best Buy and everybody, the King (team owner Richard Petty) especially. I hate this.”

David Gilliland   
No. 34 Taco Bell Ford           
Hometown: Riverside            
30th in points 

22nd PLACE FINISH:  After starting in the 29th position, Gilliland gained 7 positions to bring home a 22nd place finish, and remained 30th in points.

Casey Mears   
No. 13 GEICO Toyota    
Hometown: Bakersfield 
32nd in points

23rd PLACE FINISH:  Mears started his day in the 30th position and at the end of the race he had gained seven spots.   His finish enabled him to remain in the top-35 in points.

Mike Skinner   
No. 60 Big Red Toyota   
Hometown: Susanville  
49th in points

41st PLACE FINISH:  Skinner qualified in the 39th position, but due to a vibration issue he finished the race in the 41st spot, 349 laps down.


NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Driver Leaders:

Position, Driver, Points
3, KYLE BUSCH, 379
9, KURT BUSCH, 336
11, MARK MARTIN, 324
12, GREG BIFFLE, 311


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