CaliConnection: How our California NASCAR drivers fared at Kentucky

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 Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway over the weekend.

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (July 11, 2011) – Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota,  made it look easy from start to finish by securing the pole, then taking the checkered flag at the Inaugural Sprint Cup race at Kentucky Speedway – the Quaker State 400 as California placed two drivers in the top 10.

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

Kevin Harvick   
No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet  
Hometown: Bakersfield 
3rd in points

16th PLACE FINISH: Harvick started 19th on the day but could only muster a 16th place finish.  "We were just too loose at the end of the race. I knew we were in trouble restarting on the outside on that final restart and we ended up falling back a few spots."  His finish was enough to earn 28 driver points, leaving him in 3rd place in the Sprint Cup Points Standings, 10 points behind leader Kyle Busch.


Jimmie Johnson  
No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet   
Hometown: El Cajon  
5th in points

3rd PLACE FINISH: Johnson made is interesting until the end when race winner Busch pulled away from Johnson and second-place finisher David Reutimann.  "I think Kyle's (Busch, race winner) car was a little bit better than us at the end.  We were up front all night long.  This Lowe's Chevy Impala was really running good.  Hats off to the team, there was a lot of hard work this weekend and a very solid finish."


Jeff Gordon   
No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet   
Hometown: Vallejo  
7th in points    

10th PLACE FINISH: Starting the day in 14th position, Gordon was able to move his No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet up four spots to finish in the Top 10, his 8th Top 10 finish on the year.  “We mainly just needed track position and we had some great things go our way there towards the end to catch a caution and came back up there to a good position and then we were actually able to maintain.” 


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

28th PLACE FINISH:  A 28th place finish after a 23rd place start puts Allmendinger in 18th place in the Driver standings – 141 behind leader Busch but only 1 behind 17th place Kasey Kahne. 


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

31st PLACE FINISH:  After qualifying 35th, Gilliland moved up four positions finishing the race in 31st.  He managed to pick up 13 Driver Points, securing his 30th spot in the Sprint Cup standings. 


Casey Mears   
No. 13 GEICO Toyota   
Hometown: Bakersfield 
31st in points

25th PLACE FINISH:  Starting 25th and finishing 25th puts the Bakersfield native in 31st place, 363 points behind Kyle Busch.


Robby Gordon   
No. 77 SPEED Energy Dodge  
Hometown: Orange  
34th in points

Robby Gordon failed to qualify for the Quaker State 400.


Mike Skinner   
No. 60 Big Red Toyota     
Hometown: Susanville  
55th in points

43rd PLACE FINISH:  After qualifying 33rd, the veteran NASCAR driver experienced electrical problems forcing Skinner behind the wall only 17 laps into the race. 


NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Driver Leaders:

Position, Driver, Points
1, KYLE BUSCH, 624
2, CARL EDWARDS, 620
3, KEVIN HARVICK , 614
4, KURT BUSCH, 606
5, JIMMIE JOHNSON, 605
6, MATT KENSETH, 602
7, GORDON, 553
8, DALE EARNHARDT JR., 548
9, RYAN NEWMAN, 538
10, DENNY HAMLIN, 529
11, TONY STEWART, 527
12, CLINT BOWYER, 514


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