CaliConnection: How our California NASCAR & INDYCAR Drivers Fared at Richmond and Sao Paulo

Several NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and IZOD IndyCar Series drivers have California connections, including 5-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson who hails from El Cajon.

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (April 30, 2012) -- Pulling away from Dale Earnhardt Jr. after a restart with eight laps left in Saturday night's Capital City 400 at Richmond International Raceway, Kyle Busch streaked to his fourth straight victory in the spring race at the .75-mile track.  The win was Busch's first of the season and the 24th of his career, tying him with his brother, 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Kurt Busch, for 26th all-time.

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

Jimmie Johnson 
No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet   
CaliConnection: El Cajon 
6th in points

6th PLACE FINISH:  "We had a really fast race car.  I wish they would give us ‘fastest’ points because I would have got a bunch tonight.  I think we were pretty equal with the leaders, the No. 18 (Kyle Busch) and No. 14 (Tony Stewart).  We could have run third, we could have won the race.  A great solid performance, we have been junk here the last two or three times.  To come here and have a great night is very important for us.”

Kevin Harvick  
No. 29 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet 
CaliConnection: Bakersfield 
7th in points

19th PLACE FINISH:  "This certainly was not the night we were planning on.  The Jimmy John's Chevrolet was good during the first run of the race, but we couldn't find the right setup to be there in the end. We made some mistakes tonight, and as a team, we really need to work on keeping the mistakes to a minimum if we're going to win races this season."

Jeff Gordon  
No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet   
CaliConnection: Vallejo 
17th in points    

23rd PLACE FINISH: A cut tire after an early race restart doomed Gordon's chances in the Capital City 400. Gordon lost two laps after contact with Greg Biffle and was unable to get the laps back throughout the race. He finished 23rd and moved to 17th in the series standings. It was Gordon's sixth finish of 21st or worse in the last 11 races.

AJ Allmendinger 
No. 22 Shell/Penzoil Dodge  
CaliConnection: Los Gatos 
21st in points

16th PLACE FINISH: “Our Shell/Pennzoil Dodge was great, fast on the short runs.  But on the long runs the tires went away so quickly. The car was like a light switch – it was great, then immediately got bad. We couldn't keep from grinding the front tires.  It was so bad on one of the early runs, we pitted early because it felt like I had a front tire going down.  We couldn’t seem to adjust for it.  I tried driving differently and nothing seemed to work.  Then that second to last run was long and the tires went away 35 laps into it.  So after running in the top 10 all day, we didn’t have a yellow fall when we needed it.  So we have to take 16th.”

Casey Mears  
No. 13 GEICO Ford   
CaliConnection: Bakersfield 
28th in points

21st PLACE FINISH:  Mears qualified 26th but was only able to move up five places, finishing the day in 21st.

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

36th PLACE FINISH: Gilliland started the race in 41st position and finished in 36th place.

Josh Wise  
No. 26 Morristown Driver’s Service Ford 
CaliConnection: Riverside  
41st in points 

38th PLACE FINISH:  This Riverside, Calif. native and Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender started the race in the 32nd position but involved in an accident on Lap 127 that ended his day dropping him to a 38th place finish.  He moved up one spot in the points standing as he now is 41st.

Robby Gordon  
No. 7 SPEED Energy Dodge  
CaliConnection: Orange 
47th in points

Robby Gordon did not compete in the Capital City 400 and stands 47th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Points race.

Scott Speed  
No. 95 TWD Drywall Ford  
CaliConnection: Manteca  
48th in points

43rd PLACE FINISH:  Electrical problems put Speed behind the wall after only finishing 19 laps on the day.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Driver Leaders:
Position, Driver, Points
1, GREG BIFFLE, 338
2, DALE EARNHARDT, JR., 333
3, DENNY HAMLIN, 329
4, MATT KENSETH, 328
5, MARTIN TRUEX, JR., 316
6, JIMMIE JOHNSON, 314 
7, KEVIN HARVICK, 313
8, TONY STEWART, 307
9, CARL EDWARDS, 287
10, RYAN NEWMAN, 278
11, KYLE BUSCH, 265
12, CLINT BOWYER, 264

NEXT NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES RACE: Sunday, May 6 @ Talladega Superspeedway

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SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (April 30, 2012) – The IZOD IndyCar Series was in Brazil Sunday for the Sao Paulo 300. Will Power, driver of the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet qualified first and took home the checkered flag, his third consecutive victory of the season.

Power held off American Ryan Hunter-Reay (No. 28 Team DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda Chevrolet) who came in second, and Takuma Sato (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda) of Japan who finished third.
Below is how our Golden Staters fared in Sunday’s IZOD IndyCar Series event.

JR Hildebrand 
No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing Chevrolet  
CaliConnection: Sausaluto 
9th in points

After starting 14th, Hildebrand moved up seven positions finishing the Sao Paulo Indy 300 in seventh place. "I’m stoked for the guys.” “I had left something on the table during qualifying this weekend and I really wanted to get out there and hustle it and pick off some guys and get us up to the front. And through some good strategy calls and a good National Guard Chevy we were able to do that and it was a lot of fun.”

Oriol Servia  
No. 22 Lotus DRR Lotus  
CaliConnection: Santa Monica 
17th in points

Servia showed impressive speed on the streets of Sao Paulo as he crossed the line in 11th place, despite starting 23rd due to an engine change and taking a drive-thru penalty en route. "We almost didn't make the start of the race. The guys did an amazing job. They were working until the last second putting the engine together and we didn't think that we were going to make it. Somehow we picked up the best result of the year and we'll take it."

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

At the checkered flag, Kimball scored a career-best finish of eighth, improving on his previous highest IZOD IndyCar Series result of ninth in St. Petersburg in March. “We made the most of it today.” "What an interesting race. No corner went without some sort of contact. The Novo Nordisk team did a fantastic job today. Great pit stops and I'm thrilled to have a career-best finish here in Brazil. On to Indianapolis."


IZOD IndyCar Series Driver Leaders:

Position, Driver, Points
1, WILL POWER, 180
2, HELIO CASTRONEVES, 135
3, JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, 123
4, RYAN HUNTER-REAY, 121
5, SIMON PAGENAUD, 118
6, SCOTT DIXON, 109
7, TAKUMA SATO, 83
8, RYAN BRISCOE, 83
9, JR HILDEBRAND, 83
10, DARIO FRANCHITTI, 82

NEXT IZOD INDYCAR SERIES RACE: Sunday, May 27 @ the Indianapolis 500.

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