CaliConnection: How Our California NASCAR Drivers Fared at Charlotte

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 Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday.


SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (Oct. 17, 2011) – Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 Fluidmaster Ford, proved he was the king of restarts and took home his third victory of the year and his first victory in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday.

Below is how our Golden Staters fared on Saturday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event.

Kevin Harvick   
No. 29 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet  
Hometown: Bakersfield 
2nd in points

6th PLACE FINISH: Harvick started the day in 14th and his crew worked diligently to battle an ill-handling racecar.  He rebounded with a Top-10 finish.  Harvick took the checkered flag in sixth place and remains second in the points, just five behind leader Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford. “We have had a lot of goals that we wanted to achieve this year and that was one of the goals we wanted to achieve was to get through these first five races, with not too much damage, so five points, if you would have told me we would come out of Charlotte with a only a five point deficit going into the next five races, I would be really happy."

Jimmie Johnson  
No. 48 Lowe’s/Chevy 100th Anniversary Chevrolet  
Hometown: El Cajon  
8th in points

34th PLACE FINISH: Although Johnson ran in the top pack for the majority of the race, a wreck with 18 laps to go ended his quest for victory. Johnson lost five spots in the points and now sits eighth, 35 behind leader Edwards. "I am ok, that one stung for sure, just thankful to have safe racecars, safe walls, softer walls and everything did its job. Pretty big impact. Unfortunate that we wrecked.”

Jeff Gordon   
No. 24 Drive to End Hunger/Chevy 100th Anniversary Chevrolet
Hometown: Vallejo  
11th in points    

21st PLACE FINISH: Gordon qualified 23rd, but could never make his way to the front.  Adding insult to injury, Gordon was involved in a wreck on lap 292 and finished in the 21st spot.  He lost one spot in the points and is now 11th in the standings.

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

7th PLACE FINISH: After starting 4th, Allmendinger worked hard to remain in the Top-15 during the race and eventually crossed the finish line in 7th place. “The result was good.  It was a good night for points.  To win these things we’ve just got to be a little bit better.”

David Gilliland   
No. 34 Tasty Kake Ford  
Hometown: Riverside  
30th in points 

36th PLACE FINISH: Gilliland started the race in 33rd, but never contended for the win due to contact on a restart.  He ended his day in 36th place. "It's obviously disappointing that we didn't really get to race after we suffered the damage on that restart.  The five car  (Mark Martin) checked up and everyone behind him just wound up in a pile-up.  There was nothing we could do."

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

32nd PLACE FINISH:  Mears qualified 24th, but had to retire from the race on lap 323 due to an engine failure.

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

38th PLACE FINISH:  Robby Gordon qualified 43rd and was never able to gain momentum.  After only completing 33 laps, Gordon left the race with vibration issues, finishing in 38th.

Scott Speed   
No. 46 Ford  
Hometown: Manteca   
67th in points

Speed failed to qualify for the Bank of America 500.


NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Driver Leaders:

Position, Driver, Points
4, KYLE BUSCH, 2185
7, KURT BUSCH, 2176
10, RYAN NEWMAN, 2142
11, JEFF GORDON, 2137
12, DENNY HAMLIN, 2117


NEXT RACE: Sunday, Oct. 23 – Good Sam Club 500 at Talladega Superspeedway

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