CaliConnection: How our California NASCAR & INDYCAR Drivers Fared at Texas and Long Beach

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (April 16, 2012) – Cali’s Jimmie Johnson led the most laps, but Filtrete Ford driver Greg Biffle took home the checkered at the 16th annual Samsung Mobile 500 over the weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.

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

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

9th PLACE FINISH: The Bakersfield native started 15th and weaved his way through traffic throughout the day to finish in the Top 10 (9th), picking up 35 points and moving to 5th place in the Sprint Cup Standings.  "The Budweiser Chevrolet started off strong, but we lost a lot of ground on the second (pit) stop. We fought the handling back in traffic after that and the car got too loose. There at the end it started to get really loose in (Turn) three. All in all, this is better than I've been (at Texas) lately, so we'll take that and work on what we need to improve for next time." 

Jimmie Johnson 
No. 48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet  
CaliConnection: El Cajon 
8th in points

2nd PLACE FINISH: Johnson led more laps than any of the 43 contenders (156) in his No. 48 Lowe’s/KOBALT Tools Chevrolet; but when the 334-lap/501-mile race came to a close, his car was too loose and he was unable to hold onto the lead.  With only a few laps remaining Johnson scrapped the wall while navigating through traffic; but he was able to cross the stripe in the runner-up position.  “I wish we could have won.  We were in contention, had a great race car.  Pit stops were just amazing all night long.  Car was great.  Great night all in all, certainly wish that we'd be in victory lane, but we'll try again next week.” 

Jeff Gordon  
No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet  
CaliConnection: Vallejo 
17th in points    

4th PLACE FINISH: Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, came from the 34th starting position to finish fourth. He was fast in the closing laps and narrowly missed snagging the third spot in the closing laps. The strong run moved Gordon up four positions in the NSCS championship standings to 17th. “What a race car we had. I mean to drive up through there with only two cautions in the top five. I could almost get to Mark (Martin) there at the end but we had a great night, a great car and we had this many times this year. We just haven’t been able to get it all the way to the finish. So, tonight we finally did. This is something we can build on. I’m so proud of this team and I can’t wait to go to Kansas.”     

AJ Allmendinger 
No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Dodge  
CaliConnection: Los Gatos 
19th in points

15th PLACE FINISH: Allmendinger started the day in 12th position, but fought a tight ride all night long before finishing the evening in 15th.   “I think we need to work on making small changes before the race, but that’s something that Todd (Gordon, Crew Chief) and I will learn together.  The first three changes that we made during the race were good.  I thought that we were making good progress and after that, we just lost the race track.  We fought tight and tried to free it up.”

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

25th PLACE FINISH:  Mears qualified 22nd and finished 25th on the day.

David Gilliland  
No. 38 Mod Space Ford  
CaliConnection: Riverside 
30th in points 

31st PLACE FINISH: Gilliland started the race in 35th and was only able to improve his beginning position by 4 spots.  Despite high expectations going into the event – “The track really feels fast and there's a lot of room to run around.  With a good car there's a lot of opportunity to make things happen” – he crossed the finish line in 31st place.

Josh Wise  
No. 26 Morristown Driver’s Service Ford 
CaliConnection: Riverside  
43rd in points 

39th PLACE FINISH:  This Riverside, Calif. native started the race in the 32nd place, but vibration issues took him out of the race on Lap 66.  He finished the race in 39th place.

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

Robby Gordon did not compete in the Samsung Mobile 500.

Scott Speed  
No. 95 TWD Drywall Ford  
CaliConnection: Manteca  
47th in points

43rd PLACE FINISH:  Scott Speed was only able to complete 13 laps before his No. 95 TWD Drywall Ford overheated, taking Speed out of the race.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Driver Leaders:

Position, Driver, Points
1, GREG BIFFLE, 273
2, MATT KENSETH, 254
3, DALE EARNHARDT, JR., 254
4, MARTIN TRUEX, JR., 253
5, KEVIN HARVICK, 249
6, DENNY HAMLIN, 242
7, TONY STEWART, 234
8, JIMMIE JOHNSON, 233 
9, RYAN NEWMAN, 225
10, CLINT BOWYER, 219
11, CARL EDWARDS, 215
12, PAUL MENARD, 192

NEXT NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES RACE: Sunday, April 22 @ Kansas Speedway

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SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (April 16, 2012) – Will Power, who started the 38th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in Row 6 because of a penalty assessed on all 11 Chevrolet-powered cars for unapproved engine changes, overcame the deficit  to give Team Penske its first INDYCAR victory at Long Beach since 2001.
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 
10th in points

5th PLACE FINISH:  After starting 20th, Hildebrand revved things up and finished 5th on the day. “The car was really good.  We’re just stoked to be able to come from that far back through some on-track passes and good strategy. And what a great job by Team Chevy after we had to make an engine change. We’ll take this and move on to Brazil.”

Oriol Servia  
No. 22 Lotus-DRR Lotus  
CaliConnection: Santa Monica 
19th in points

16th PLACE FINISH:  Servia moved up 7 positions on the course to finish the day in 16th.  "It wasn't the best Long Beach grand prix I've had in my life or what we expected. From the start I felt that we didn't have the top speed, but we knew that. It was tough out there and then we had a little bit of bad luck in the pit stop. We lost a wheel nut and that's what put us two laps down. Not the best day out there, but I'm really happy with the team, they kept their heads down and in the end that's what will give us the results."

Charlie Kimball
No.  83 NovoLog FlexPen Honda 
CaliConnection: Camarillo 
20th in points

18th PLACE FINISH:  Charlie Kimball qualified in the 9th position, but fell back nine positions finishing the race in 18th place.  “It was a great race, however it was disappointing for us with the gearbox failure at the end there.  The whole Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi team did a great job all weekend.  I had the best NovoLog Flexpen Honda car I’ve had in a long time.  I think we can take this momentum and shoot for the top-10 in the next few races.”

Townsend Bell       
CaliConnection: San Francisco          
Townsend Bell did not compete in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

IZOD IndyCar Series Driver Leaders:

Position, Driver, Points
1, WILL POWER, 127
2, HELIO CASTRONEVES, 103
3, SIMON PAGENAUD, 100
4, SCOTT DIXON, 96
5, JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, 95
6, RYAN HUNTER-REAY, 81
7, RYAN BRISCOE, 72
8, GRAHAM RAHAL, 62
9, RUBENS BARRICHELLO, 59
10, JR HILDEBRAND, 57

NEXT IZOD INDYCAR SERIES RACE: Sunday, April 29 @ The Streets of Sao Paulo

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