CaliConnection: How our California NASCAR drivers fared in Bristol

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 Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway over the weekend.

Jeff Gordon with wife Ingrid before the Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (Aug. 29, 2011) – For the second time in four weeks, Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge, took home the checkered flag and brought home his third NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory of the year at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Below is how our other Golden Staters fared in this past weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event:
 
 
Jimmie Johnson  
No. 48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet  
Hometown: El Cajon  
2nd in points
 
4th PLACE FINISH: After starting 13th, Johnson fought his way up to the Top 5 where he remained for the majority of the race.  He never gave up and brought home a 4th place finish which enabled Johnson to remain second in the points and clinch his spot in the Chase to the Sprint Cup. “We had a great night, tonight. I’m very proud of this Lowe’s team. This Chevrolet was pretty good all night long. I wish we had a little bit more pace, but we were knocking on the door all night long and right there fighting for it.”
 

Kevin Harvick   
No. 29 Realtree/Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet 
Hometown: Bakersfield 
5th in points
22nd PLACE FINISH: Harvick started 15th on the day, but struggled with adjustments to his car.  He was able to salvage his run with a 22nd place finish. Harvick lost two positions in the points, leaving him in 5th place in the Sprint Cup Points Standings, 48 points behind leader Kyle Busch.
 

Jeff Gordon   
No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet 
Hometown: Vallejo  
6th in points    
3rd PLACE FINISH: Although Gordon led the most laps (206) and seemed to be the car to beat, loss of track position on a late-race pit stop led him to end his day in 3rd place.  His finish enabled him to remain in the 6th place in points. “It felt like we had the car to beat; but you know what, we just didn’t get the position that we needed to on that last pit stop. Our pit crew was awesome. We fought hard. That was just a great battle; a lot of fun racing, but just didn’t quite have it there at the end.”
 
 
AJ Allmendinger  
No. 43 Best Buy Ford   
Hometown: Los Gatos  
14th in points
 
12th PLACE FINISH:  Although he fought tight and loose conditions all night, Allmendinger was able to run in the Top 15 for the entire race. He gained one spot in the Driver standings and now sits 14th – only 24 behind 12th place Clint Bowyer. “With like 200 to go we were running like sixth or seventh and we were just kind of going back and forth between being too loose and too tight and we got it too tight the rest of the night. I feel like 12th place, I am pleased with it, not thrilled but pleased with it.”
 

David Gilliland   
No. 34 Thanks Bristol Fans Ford 
Hometown: Riverside  
30th in points 
24th PLACE FINISH:  After qualifying 17th, Gilliland lost seven spots and finished the race in 24th. He remains 30th in points.
 

Casey Mears   
No. 13 GEICO Toyota   
Hometown: Bakersfield 
31st in points
23rd PLACE FINISH:  Mears started in the 29th place and gained six spots, ending his day in the 23rd place. 
 

Robby Gordon   
No. 7 SPEED Energy Dodge  
Hometown: Orange  
34th in points
43rd PLACE FINISH:  A brake issue ended Gordon’s day on lap 10.
 

Mike Skinner   
No. 60 Big Red Toyota     
Hometown: Susanville  
56th in points
41st PLACE FINISH:  After starting 43rd, Skinner had to retire behind the wall with a brake problem on lap 28.
 

Scott Speed   
No. 46 Green Stuff Ford  
Hometown: Manteca   
72nd in points
42nd PLACE FINISH:  After qualifying 36th, Speed was only able to complete 28 laps before experiencing brake issues, taking him out of the race.
 
 
 
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Driver Leaders:
 
Position, Driver, Points
1, KYLE BUSCH, 830
2, JIMMIE JOHNSON, 830
3, MATT KENSETH, 798
4, CARL EDWARDS, 795
5, KEVIN HARVICK, 782
6, JEFF GORDON, 782
7, RYAN NEWMAN, 762
8, KURT BUSCH, 749
9, DALE EARNHARDT, JR., 728
10, TONY STEWART, 710
11, BRAD KESELOWSKI, 689
12, CLINT BOWYER, 688

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