CaliConnection: How our California NASCAR drivers fared at Pocono

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 5-Hour Energy 500 at Pocono Raceway.


SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (June 13, 2011) – The Tricky Triangle was no match for California native Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, as he picked up his elusive second win of 2011 in the 5-Hour Energy 500 at Pocono Raceway.  Below is how our Golden Staters fared in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event in Pocono, Penn.

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

4th PLACE FINISH: Johnson started his day in the 14th spot and fought his way to the front and crossed the finish line in 4th place. His run enabled him to come with in 6 of point’s leader Carl Edwards. “It was a great day in the pits and on the track. Man, I really thought I had a shot there on that restart at the end and kind of got stuck in the middle and lost a bunch of track position and just had to recover from that,” said Johnson. “But it was a great day today.”

Kevin Harvick     
No. 29 Okuma Chevrolet  
Hometown: Bakersfield    
4th in points

5th PLACE FINISH: After a disappointing starting spot of 32nd position, Harvick remained in the top-10 for the majority of the race, eventually bringing home a top-5 finish. "It was a total team effort to get our Okuma Chevy up there. They did a great job at the beginning playing the pit strategy and we got to the top-10 before we even got to half way. Good solid day for us. We just have a little bit of work to do before we came back."

Jeff Gordon                
No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet      
Hometown: Vallejo  
11th in points 

1st PLACE FINISH:  Gordon qualified in the 3rd position and stayed in the front pack for the entire race.  His determination to bring home his second victory of the season led him to take over the race lead on lap 182 for the final time.  He now sits in 11th in the standings, a mere 6 points out of the top-10. "Just a lot of hard work has gone into this. We were embarrassed by the way we were running. When I came on board with Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) and his crew, I knew that they were special and amazing,” said Gordon. “Phoenix came a little sooner than we thought but I felt like we could do that this year. Then we went on a streak where we just weren't competitive. What it takes is a team that believes in you and you believe in them and you work together to get there. And that is what we did today. We just never gave up. Awesome racecar. Awesome pit stops.”

AJ Allmendinger  
No. 43 Medallion Financial Ford 
Hometown: Los Gatos  
18th in points

25th PLACE FINISH: Allmendinger started in the 28th spot and although he worked his way up to the 17th position, he fell back and eventually finished in 25th.  Allmendinger lost two spots in the points and now sits in 18th place.

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

29th PLACE FINISH:  After starting near the tail-end of the field, Gilliland’s consistent run throughout the day led him to finish in the 29th spot and kept him securely in the top-35 in points. "The car was night and day different at the end of the race. We weren't too bad early, but I couldn't get the drive off the flat turns.  I think the guys did a great job of making it better and we were looking really good just past the 100-lap mark.  But, I'm pleased with the effort today."

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

30th PLACE FINISH:  Mears started his day in the 35th position and gained five spots at the checkered flag to finish in the 30th position.   His finish enabled him to remain in the top-35 in points (32nd).

Robby Gordon   
No. 7 SPEED Energy Dodge  
Hometown: Orange  
34th in points

Gordon did not compete in 5-Hour Energy 500.

Mike Skinner   
No. 60 Big Red Toyota   
Hometown: Susanville  
50th in points

Skinner failed to qualify in the 5-Hour Energy 500.


NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Driver Leaders:

Position, Driver, Points
5, KYLE BUSCH, 467
6, KURT BUSCH, 457
11, JEFF GORDON, 411





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