CaliConnection: How our NASCAR and INDYCAR California Drivers Fared this Weekend at Martinsville Speedway and Barber Motorsports Park

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (April 2, 2012) – Hendrick Motorsports teammates and California natives Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon dominated the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Goody’s Fast Relief 500 race for 497 laps Sunday at Martinsville Speedway. But it was Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Outback Steakhouse Chevrolet that took home the checkered flag after a controversial green-white-checkered flag restart.

Californian AJ Allmendinger followed with a second place finish by a mere .342 seconds behind Newman and Dale Earnhardt Jr. with a third place finish.

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

Kevin Harvick 
No. 29 Budweiser is Back Chevrolet
CaliConnection: Bakersfield
5th in points

19th PLACE FINISH: Although having started second and leading 21 laps, Harvick was not able to maintain his track positioning.  He eventually crossed the finish line in the 19th position and is fifth in points. 

Jimmie Johnson
No. 48 myLowe’s Chevrolet
CaliConnection: El Cajon
10th in points

12th PLACE FINISH: After qualifying 22nd, Johnson was able to make his way to the front of the field, leading 112 laps.  On the first attempt for a green-white-checkered flag finish, an on-track incident on Lap 498 took out race leaders Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson.  “We just restarted and got going. That inside lane is awfully inviting at times to dive-bomb on people. The No. 15 (Clint Bowyer) threw a dive-bomb in there. I’m sure once he got in there and realized it wasn’t the best idea. It turned me around. It turned the No. 24 (Jeff Gordon) around. But it is what it is. It’s short track racing. We’ve still got a decent finish out of it and so we’ll take some decent points. I really thought we had a chance to get Rick (Hendrick) his 200th win today and it is just unfortunate that this MyLowes Chevrolet is all beat-up and didn’t have a chance to get the trophy.”

AJ Allmendinger
No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Dodge 
CaliConnection: Los Gatos
20th in points

2nd PLACE FINISH: Before starting 27th, Allmendinger started the day in the medical center, receiving treatment for flu-like symptoms. “I felt horrible this morning, just sick,” he said. But Allmendinger fought hard all day and made his way toward the front of the field.  Then after a pair of late-race cautions,  Allmendinger worked his way around the spinning cars and battled with Newman for first.  “I’m really happy with the finish, but more than anything, just happy with the day,” said Allmendinger. “Everybody was really solid on the Shell/Pennzoil Dodge today. Hopefully, we can take this momentum and what we learned today, take the off week and keep building on it going into Texas.

Jeff Gordon
No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet
CaliConnection: Vallejo
21st in points    

14th PLACE FINISH: Gordon started the race in the ninth position and moved his way up to lead the race for a race-high 328 laps.  After an accident on Lap 498 involving Clint Bowyer and Jimmie Johnson, Gordon was knocked out of first place, ultimately finishing the race in 14th. “It’s pretty frustrating.  Such a hard fought race, we had the car to beat early on for most of the race.  I knew Jimmie (Johnson) towards the end would be tough.  He always is.  I wish there hadn’t of been a caution.  I think we had the race right there.  I still thought we had it on the restart.  Like I said I didn’t get the best restart, but I wasn’t expecting somebody to be shoved to the inside of me and take it three-wide.”

Casey Mears
No. 13 GEICO Ford
CaliConnection: Bakersfield
27th in points

25th PLACE FINISH:  Mears qualified 25th and finished in the same position.

David Gilliland
No. 38 Long John Silver’s Ford
CaliConnection: Riverside
30th in points 

28th PLACE FINISH: Gilliland started the race in 38th and was able to improve his beginning position by 10 spots.  He crossed the finish line in 28th place.

Josh Wise
No. 26 Morrisontown Driver Service Ford
CaliConnection: Riverside
43rd in points 

41st PLACE FINISH:  This Riverside, Calif. native started the race in the 30th place, but brakes issues took him out of the race on Lap 49.  He finished the race in 41st place.

Robby Gordon 
No. 7 SPEED Energy Dodge
CaliConnection: Orange
46th in points

Robby Gordon did not compete in the Goody’s Fast Relief 500.

Scott Speed
No. 52 Ford
CaliConnection: Manteca
55th in points

Scott Speed failed to qualify for the Goody’s Fast Relief 500.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Driver Leaders:

Position, Driver, Points
1, GREG BIFFLE, 226
2, DALE EARNHARDT, JR, 220
3, TONY STEWART, 214
4, MATT KENSETH, 214
5, KEVIN HARVICK, 214
6, MARTIN TRUEX, JR., 214
7, DENNY HAMLIN, 210
8, RYAN NEWMAN, 202
9, CLINT BOWYER, 192
10, JIMMIE JOHNSON, 189 
11, CARL EDWARDS, 179
12, BRAD KESELOWSKI, 175

NEXT NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES RACE: Saturday, April 14 @ Texas Motor Speedway



SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (April 2, 2012) – The IZOD IndyCar Series took its show to Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. 

Will Power, driver of the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet won the race, with Scott Dixon, No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, coming in second just 3.3709 seconds behind Power.  While Helio Castroneves, No. 3 AAA Team Penske Chevrolet finished third.

Below is how our Golden Staters fared in Sunday’s IZOD IndyCar Series event.

Charlie Kimball
No.  83 NovoLog FlexPen Honda
CaliConnection: Camarillo
15th in points

25TH PLACE FINISH:  Charlie Kimball qualified in the 22nd position, but a mechanical issue on Lap 45 ended his day with a 25th place finish.  “That was a little disappointing,” said Kimball.  “We had a decent car there for a while. The tires definitely made a big difference to the lap times and how the car handled. It’s kind of a shame. We had a small problem with the car, which put us out of the race. We learned a lot… learned about how to go racing with these cars and engines. We’ll be in good shape come Long Beach.”

Oriol Servia
No. 22 Lotus DRR Lotus
CaliConnection: Santa Monica
18th in points

13th PLACE FINISH:  During the second practice session, Servia experienced problems with the motor resulting in his team changing engines. Due to the unapproved engine change, Servia was issued a 10-place grid penalty for an unauthorized engine change and started the race in the 26th position.  Despite the penalty, he was able to improve his positioning and finished the race in 13th place. 

JR Hildebrand 
No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing Honda 
CaliConnection: Sausaluto
19th in points

15th PLACE FINISH:  After starting fifth, JR Hildebrand fell back several positions after the final restart of the race finishing 15th.  “At Barber the car tends to go to understeer so we tried to adjust to avoid that as much as possible, and we thought we’d have a neutral racecar,” said Hildebrand.  “In the end though, the rear tires wouldn’t stay underneath me. I tried as hard as I could for as long as I could, but at the end of the stints it was pretty difficult.”

Townsend Bell
CaliConnection: San Francisco

Townsend Bell did not compete in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.

IZOD IndyCar Series Driver Leaders:

Position, Driver, Points
1, HELIO CASTRONEVES, 86
2, SCOTT DIXON, 84
3, WILL POWER, 77
4, JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, 60
5, SIMON PAGENAUD, 58
6, RYAN HUNTER-REAY, 53
7, GRAHAM RAHAL, 50
8, RYAN BRISCOE, 46
9, MIKE CONWAY, 38
10, RUBENS BARRICHELLO, 37

NEXT IZOD INDYCAR SERIES RACE: Sunday, April 15 @ The Streets of Long Beach

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