CaliConnection: How our California NASCAR drivers fared at Kansas

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 Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on Sunday.

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (Oct. 10, 2011) – Making it look easy, California native Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, came one step closer to his sixth Championship by dominating the competition and picking up his second victory of the year and his first victory in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup at Kansas Speedway on Sunday.

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

Kevin Harvick   
No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet  
Hometown: Bakersfield 
2nd in points

6th PLACE FINISH: Although Harvick battled an ill-handling racecar for the majority of the day, he was able to bring home a Top-10 finish.  Harvick took the checkered flag in sixth place, but lost one spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup – he is now in second place, just one point behind leader Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford. “It was a long day to say the least. But everyone on the Budweiser Chevy just kept adjusting and nothing seemed to work right today as far as our adjustments were going, so we kept swinging at it and that next to the last pit stop we put four tires on and that helped us get through the traffic."


Jimmie Johnson  
No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet    
Hometown: El Cajon  
3rd in points

1st PLACE FINISH: There was no stopping Johnson as he led the most laps (197) and pulled away on the final restart to win his 55th career victory – tying Rusty Wallace for eighth place on the all-time series win list. Johnson gained two spots in the points and now sits third, just four behind leader Edwards. "This sport is so tough, look at all the second places we have this year, we have been close but just have not got the job done. We were glad to get the win done today. "


Jeff Gordon   
No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet   
Hometown: Vallejo  
10th in points    

34th PLACE FINISH: After running in the Top-5 for most of the race, Gordon got shuffled back after contact on a late-race restart with Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet.  Adding insult to injury, Gordon’s engine blew with just three laps left.  He lost one spot in the points and is now 10th in the standings. “We had a really bad restart there and got shuffled back. Our day was pretty much over anyway and we were going to finish maybe 15th or something. Right there I started what smelled like burning oil and I saw the oil temp start to come up and I felt like it was just a matter of time before it blew up.”


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

25th PLACE FINISH: Allmendinger qualified 22nd, but had to drop to the rear of the field at the start of the race due to missing driver introductions.  He was unable to recover and eventually finished 25th.


David Gilliland   
No. 34 A&W All American Food Ford 
Hometown: Riverside  
30th in points 

32nd PLACE FINISH:  After starting 30th, Gilliland was never able to make the right adjustments to his car to move him forward.  He crossed the finish line in 32nd place. "I don't know what it is about this track, but it's just always been tough for us.  From the time we rolled off the truck, Peter (crew chief Peter Sospenzo) and the guys worked on trying to make it better all weekend.  And we did get it better, but track conditions changed during the race and it just seemed like we were always chasing it."


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

42nd PLACE FINISH:  Mears qualified 37th, but had to retire from the race after 16 laps due to brake issues.


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

Skinner failed to qualify for the Hollywood Casino 400.


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

33rd PLACE FINISH:  After qualifying 25th, Speed fell to the rear and finished the race six laps down.


NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Driver Leaders:

Position, Driver, Points
1, CARL EDWARDS, 2161
2, KEVIN HARVICK , 2160
3, JIMMIE JOHNSON, 2157
4, BRAD KESELOWSKI, 2150
5, MATT KENSETH, 2149
6, KURT BUSCH, 2145
7, TONY STEWART, 2142
8, KYLE BUSCH, 2141
9, DALE EARNHARDT, JR, 2118
10, JEFF GORDON, 2114
11, RYAN NEWMAN, 2107
12, DENNY HAMLIN, 2082


NEXT RACE: Saturday, Oct. 15 – Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway

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