CaliConnection: How Our California NASCAR Drivers Fared at Martinsville

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 Tums Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday.

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (Oct. 31, 2011) – With two laps to go, Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, made his move and passed Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 mylowes Chevrolet, to bring home his third victory in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday.

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

Kevin Harvick   
No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet  
Hometown: Bakersfield 
3rd in points

4th PLACE FINISH: After several pit road incidents, Harvick was able to push through to lead 35 laps and finish in fourth place.  He gained two spots in the points standings and is now third, 21 behind leader Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Scotts Winterguard Ford. “It was definitely a battle. Everybody was driving hard. I know the guys did a good job making the car better and we got good track position.”


Jimmie Johnson  
No. 48 mylowes Chevrolet   
Hometown: El Cajon  
6th in points

2nd PLACE FINISH: During the final caution, Johnson and his crew used strategy and chose to be one of the few leaders not to pit.  He restarted first, but was passed with two laps to go and finished second. Johnson gained one spot in the points and now sits sixth, 43 behind leader Edwards. "We had a great race car all day long. Chad (Knaus, crew chief) made a great call. That gave us an opportunity to win the race.”


Jeff Gordon   
No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet  
Hometown: Vallejo  
10th in points    

3rd PLACE FINISH: Gordon qualified 10th, but was involved in an accident on lap 7 and fell to the rear of the field. He battled back, eventually led 113 laps and crossing the finish line in third place. Gordon remains 10th in the standings. “I got caught up in that incident early on. I ran it as hard as I possibly could to get our Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet back to the front. It just seemed like the last couple of runs just didn’t quite go our way, so we came home third.”


AJ Allmendinger  
No. 43 AdvoCare Ford   
Hometown: Los Gatos  
16th in points

11th PLACE FINISH: After starting 16th, Allmendinger worked his way up to first place and looked to be a contender for the win, but an accident on lap 444 ended his hopes for a victory.  He crossed the finish line in 11th place. “It was a really good car.  I think we just needed something small to win the race, but the car was so good.  What really hurt us was when I got put three-wide on the outside and that shoved the fender over the tire.”


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

34th PLACE FINISH: Gilliland started the race in 31st and worked to avoid any incidents, but a blown tire ended his day early. He came home in 34th, 143 laps down. "We were in good shape.  We didn’t have a scratch on it.  We were just trying to keep the fenders on and blew a right-rear tire."


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

12th PLACE FINISH:  Mears qualified 33rd and drove hard to get to the front.  He took the checkered flag in 12th place, his second Top-15 finish in a row. “I’m so proud of all the guys on this GEICO racing team. We’ve known all year that we could run this well and it’s a nice feeling to have two weeks in a row where we have run up front.”


Mike Skinner   
No. 37 MaxQ Motorsports Ford 
Hometown: Susanville  
58th in points

43rd PLACE FINISH: After starting 38th, Skinner was involved in an accident on lap 7 that ended his day


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

37th PLACE FINISH: Speed started the day in 39th, but went behind the wall on lap 74 due to a rear gear issue.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Driver Leaders:

Position, Driver, Points
1, CARL EDWARDS, 2273
2, TONY STEWART, 2265
3, KEVIN HARVICK , 2252
4, BRAD KESELOWSKI, 2246
5, MATT KENSETH, 2237
6, JIMMIE JOHNSON, 2230
7, KYLE BUSCH, 2216
8, KURT BUSCH, 2215
9, DALE EARNHARDT, JR, 2200
10, JEFF GORDON, 2197
11, DENNY HAMLIN, 2193
12, RYAN NEWMAN, 2184


NEXT RACE: Sunday, Nov. 6 – Texas AAA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway

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