CaliConnection: How our California NASCAR drivers fared at Chicago

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 GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on Monday.


SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (Sept. 20, 2011) – Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, won the fuel mileage game and drove away from the competition to take home his first victory of the 2011 season at Chicagoland Speedway and the first victory of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoff season.

Below is how our other Golden Staters fared in yesterday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event which was postponed until Monday because of rain over the weekend.

Kevin Harvick   
No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet  
Hometown: Bakersfield 
1st in points

2nd PLACE FINISH: After starting 30th, Harvick made his way to the front and saved enough fuel to end the day in second place.  His finish propelled him to the top of the points leader board in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup where he has a seven point advantage over second-place driver Tony Stewart. “We had a problem with fuel and had to save a lot there at the beginning and I just didn’t know how much we had in our tank there at the end, but I was hoping we had enough.”

Jimmie Johnson  
No. 48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet  
Hometown: El Cajon  
8th in points

10th PLACE FINISH: Although Johnson led 18 laps and was in contention for the win late in the race, the victory slipped out of his hands when he ran out of fuel coming to the white flag.  Johnson salvaged the fuel mileage error with a tenth place finish , but lost two spots in the points and now sits 16 behind leader Harvick. "From my driving style I’ve never been all that good with fuel mileage. You’ve certainly seen me run out at other times. Not what we wanted. We certainly had a great race car and it’s just too bad. We ran out (of fuel) coming to the white flag.”

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

24th PLACE FINISH: Gordon started his day in a disappointing 23rd place and continued to have troubles throughout the race.  He never could get to the front and eventually brought home a 24th place finish. Gordon lost eight spots in the points and now sits 11th. “We were just off. We didn’t qualify good. That got us behind right there. It was just one of those days. We had a right front tear apart. We actually got the car halfway decent there at the end. Then it came down to saving fuel and we obviously didn’t save enough fuel.”

AJ Allmendinger  
No. 43 Best Buy Ford   
Hometown: Los Gatos  
14th in points

27th PLACE FINISH:  After starting 18th, Allmendinger fought a tight race car for the majority of the race which deterred him from moving forward.  He eventually finished 27th.

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

36th PLACE FINISH:  Gilliland qualified 38th and improved his position by two spots, ending his day in 36th place.

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

29th PLACE FINISH:  Mears qualified in the rear of the field (41st), he worked toward the front and brought home a 29th place finish.

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

39th PLACE FINISH:  A vibration issue ended Gordon’s day on lap 77.

Mike Skinner   
No. 60 Big Red Toyota   
Hometown: Susanville  
57th in points

Mike Skinner failed to qualify for the GEICO 400.

Scott Speed   
No. 46 Red Line Oil/International Ford 
Hometown: Manteca   
66th in points

35th PLACE FINISH:  After qualifying 35th, Speed was able to maintain his starting position and finish in 35th.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Driver Leaders:

Position, Driver, Points
3, CARL EDWARDS , 2044
4, KURT BUSCH, 2043
7, RYAN NEWMAN, 2040
9, KYLE BUSCH, 2035
10, MATT KENSETH, 2030
11, JEFF GORDON, 2029
12, DENNY HAMLIN, 2013

NEXT RACE: Sunday, Sept. 25 - SYLVANIA 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway

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About Auto Club Speedway:  
Auto Club Speedway, is a two-mile oval located in Fontana, California and is home to a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race each March. The track also hosts the IZOD IndyCar Series, Historic Sports Car Festival, NHRA drag racing on the track’s Auto Club Dragway, and community events including Red White & Cruise, the annual Fourth of July celebration. In addition to auto racing and community events, the Speedway is home to numerous movies, television and commercial productions, photo shoots, new car testing, club racing and a variety of racing schools. The track is active for more than 320 days every year. 

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