CaliConnection: How our California NASCAR drivers fared at Dover

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 AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on Sunday.


SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (Oct. 3, 2011) – Knowing that he had to make a move to be a true contender in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Dodge, took home his second victory of 2011 (with native Californian Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet less than a second behind) and propelled himself five places in the Chase at Dover International Speedway.

Below is how our Golden Staters fared in yesterday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event.

Kevin Harvick   
No. 29 Rheem Chasing the Cure Chevrolet 
Hometown: Bakersfield 
1st in points

10th PLACE FINISH: After starting mid-pack, Harvick worked his way up to the Top-10 and led 10 laps.  He crossed the finish line in 10th and gained one spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup – he now sits first. “We are excited. Our Rheem Chevrolet was good today and we will just keep rolling."

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

2nd PLACE FINISH: Although Johnson led the most laps, trouble with restarts at the end of the race led him to finish second. Johnson salvaged his dominating performance by gaining five spots in the points and now sits fifth, just 13 behind leader Harvick. "Great run. Certainly wish we could have finished one spot better, but just didn't get a good restart the last two restarts. So, very very proud of the effort today. This exactly what we needed for this championship Chase."

Jeff Gordon   
No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet 
Hometown: Vallejo  
9th in points    

12th PLACE FINISH: After a disappointing starting spot of 34th, Gordon worked his way up to the Top-15 where he ran for the majority of the race.  Although he struggled on restarts, he still managed to cross the finish line in 12th place. Gordon lost four spots in the points and he now sits ninth. “It started off good and we worked our way forward pretty quick from that 34th position, which we were hoping to do; but once we got up there I made some mistakes today and we just didn’t have it on the restarts. I’m so proud of the effort. We’ve just got to run better than that.”

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

7th PLACE FINISH: Allmendinger started the day seventh but suffered an early setback when he spun on lap four and ended up in the rear of the pack.  He fought his way back and eventually finished seventh. “I felt we were a fourth to seventh-place car at worst and we finished seventh after being turned on lap four.  As I was spinning I thought, ‘Okay, the day is over already,’ but it was a solid day.”

David Gilliland   
No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford 
Hometown: Riverside  
30th in points 

28th PLACE FINISH:  Gilliland qualified 36th and improved his position by eight spots, ending his day in 28th place. "It wasn't as good of a finish as we wanted, but the guys did a good job over the course of the race making the car better.  We ended the race the best we were all day, and that's what we really need to focus on."

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

35th PLACE FINISH:  After qualifying 39th Mears ran as high as 25th, but eventually crossed the finish line in 35th.

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

Skinner failed to qualify for the AAA 400.

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

42nd PLACE FINISH:  After qualifying 29th, Speed only completed 24 laps before a brake issue forced him out of the race.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Driver Leaders:

Position, Driver, Points
2, CARL EDWARDS , 2122
4, KURT BUSCH, 2113
8, KYLE BUSCH, 2107
9, JEFF GORDON, 2103
11, RYAN NEWMAN, 2081
12, DENNY HAMLIN, 2054

NEXT RACE: Sunday, Oct. 9 – Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway


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