How our California NASCAR Drivers Fared at Richmond

CALIFORNIACONNECTION: 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 Matthew and Daniel Hansen 400 at Richmond International Raceway.


SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (May 2, 2011) – In traditional short-track fashion, tempers flared and sparks flew at Richmond International Raceway Saturday night.  Through all of the beating and banging, Kyle Busch was able to bring home his second victory of the season while three Cali drivers finished in the top-12.   Below is how our Golden Staters fared in Saturday’s Matthew and Daniel Hansen 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event:

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

8th PLACE FINISH: After a disappointing starting spot in the 30th position, and spending most of the race not on the lead lap, Johnson fought his way back to a top-10 finish. Johnson remains number two in the points standings and trails leader Carl Edwards, No. 99 Aflac Ford, by nine points. “We got a good finish out of it but it was a long, long night. Hats off to the team for not giving up, for sticking with it and staying after it. We got the car semi-competitive and then finally got some strategy and finally got back on the lead lap and we went from there."

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

12th PLACE FINISH: After rolling off in the 12th spot, Harvick was able to stay in the top-15 for most of the race.  Harvick worked on his car through out the night and missed a wreck on lap 305. Although it wasn’t where he wanted to finish, he was able to salvage the night and come home with a top-12 and lost only one spot in the points.

AJ Allmendinger  
No. 43 Nautica Ford   
Hometown: Los Gatos  
11th in points

7th PLACE FINISH:  Bringing home a 7th place finish, Allmendinger was the highest-ranking Cali driver of the night.  He gained 11 positions through out the race and jumped four spots in the points, leaving him just 12 points out of the top-10.   “We were just missing a little bit. I don’t feel like we are that far off though. There are just a couple of little things here and there holding us back…We have been on the bad end before with good cars so I will take luck over skill any day.”

Jeff Gordon   
No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet         
Hometown: Vallejo  
16th in points    

39thPLACE FINISH:  Gordon started the night in the 6th position and looked to be on the path to a great finish.  On lap 302 he was caught up in a wreck and took a hard hit into the wall.  Gordon finished the night in 39th place and lost three spots in the points.  “With 100 (laps) to go and everyone was just getting so impatient; you had to dive in there three-wide. I don't know what happened behind me but somebody shot up and got my left rear and around we went,” said Gordon.  "I must have hit the corner of that inside wall.”

David Gilliland   
No. 34 Gander Mountain Ford         
Hometown: Riverside            
30th in points 

25th PLACE FINISH:  After starting in the rear of the field, Gilliland gained 14 positions to bring home a 25th place finish, but lost one spot in the points. "I'm proud of my Gander Mountain team this weekend.  Finishing 25th might not seem huge, but we're 100 steps closer on our short-track program than we were a year ago.  Right from our first laps in practice Friday, I knew we'd made great progress.  So this was a good night…We've definitely got something we can build on."

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

35th PLACE FINISH:  Starting near the end of the pack did not detour Gordon from trying to fight his way toward the front of the field.  He ended his day by gaining seven positions, leaving him in the top-35 in points. “I don’t know how to explain it; we were off the whole race.  We weren’t good when we unloaded off the truck and never really found improvements.  We were never able to get the power to the track.  I’m very disappointed with the end result.  We were having some good runs the last couple of weeks and to come here and finish 35th is a huge disappointment for us.”

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

28th PLACE FINISH:  After a top-15 starting spot, Mears lost 13 positions and ended the day in 28th.   His finish enabled him to remain in the top-35 in points.

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

Skinner qualified in the 32nd position, but due to a rear gear issue he finished the race in the 41st spot, 339 laps down.


NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Driver Leaders:

Position, Driver, Points
3, KYLE BUSCH, 305
6, KURT BUSCH, 289

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