CaliConnection: How our California NASCAR & INDYCAR Drivers Fared at Charlotte and Indianapolis

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (May 29, 2012)  – Piloting the No. 5 Quaker State Chevrolet, Kasey Kahne came on strong in the late stages of the Coca-Cola 600 to claim his first victory of 2012 Sunday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Kahne led 96 laps of the total 400-lap marathon race, NASCAR’s longest event of the season. Hendrick Motorsports (HMS) not only ended the day in victory lane, but all four of the HMS cars finished in the top-11 positions.
 
Below is how our Golden Staters fared in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in North Carolina.

Jimmie Johnson 
No. 48 Lowe’s Patriotic Chevrolet  
CaliConnection: El Cajon 
5th in points

11th PLACE FINISH:  “We had a decent car. It’s not the car that we had last week. This track changes a lot from week to week, but I still think we would have had a very fair showing with the Lowe’s Chevrolet. But it is what it is.

Kevin Harvick  
No. 29 Budweiser Folds of Honor Chevrolet 
CaliConnection: Bakersfield 
7th in points

8th PLACE FINISH:  “We had a solid night. We snuck up there in the top-five, got our bonus points for leading a lap and the pit crew was awesome. We were able to adjust our car. This isn’t our strongest race track the last two weeks but I feel like we have a solid package to build on.”

Jeff Gordon  
No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet    
CaliConnection: Vallejo 
22nd in points    

7th PLACE FINISH: “We had an awesome race car and we showed it right from the drop of the green. But, we came in under green and the caution came out. Went to the back again or I guess mid-pack and came back up through there. There at the end we took two tires and it would have been a good call unfortunately everybody else behind us took four that hurt us a little bit so we had to play catch up and came back up to seventh. That is a great effort by this team. I’m so proud of them.”

AJ Allmendinger 
No. 22 Shell Penzoil Dodge  
CaliConnection: Los Gatos 
24th in points

33rd PLACE FINISH: “Something happened with the left front hub; I’m not sure exactly what happened there. We were never good from the start; we just weren’t good, very fast this weekend.  It’s disappointing to have something else break every weekend.  We weren’t very good anyway.”

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

22nd PLACE FINISH:  Mears started the race in the 25th and moved up 3 places, finishing the race in 22nd.

David Gilliland  
No. 38 Mod Space Ford  
CaliConnection: Riverside 
29th in points 

26th PLACE FINISH:  Although Gilliland finished the race three laps down, he improved his position by 13 spots finishing the race in 26th place.

Josh Wise  
No. 26 MDS Transport Ford  
CaliConnection: Riverside  
43rd in points 

43rd PLACE FINISH:  This Sunoco Rookie of the Year Contender started 33rd and fell to 43rd after experiencing vibration issues just 15 laps into the race.

Scott Speed  
No. 95 Jordan Truck Sales Ford   
CaliConnection: Manteca  
48th in points

37th PLACE FINISH:  Speed started 38th and moved up just one place to finish the race in 37th after having fuel pump issues on Lap 136.

Robby Gordon  
No. 7 SPEED Energy Dodge  
CaliConnection: Orange 
50th in points

Gordon did not compete in Sunday’s race.

Mike Skinner  
No. 52 CrusaderStaffing.com Toyota 
CaliConnection: Susanville 
62nd in points

Skinner did not compete in Sundays’ race.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Driver Leaders:

Position, Driver, Points
1, GREG BIFFLE, 453
2, MATT KENSETH, 443
3, DENNY HAMLIN, 437
4, DALE EARNHARDT, JR., 435
5, JIMMIE JOHNSON, 405 
6, MARTIN TRUEX, JR., 404
7, KEVIN HARVICK, 398
8, KYLE BUSCH, 391
9, TONY STEWART, 388
10, CARL EDWARDS, 372
11, BRAD KESELOWSI, 368 
12, CLINT BOWYER, 366

NEXT NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES RACE: Sunday, June 3 @ Dover International Speedway

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SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (May 29, 2012) – Dario Franchitti became the 10th driver with three or more Indianapolis 500 wins, holding off charges from Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon, Takuma Sato and Tony Kanaan over the final five laps following a restart in Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.

Franchitti, the reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion, won under caution as Sato's No. 15 Rahal Letterman Racing car made slight contact with the left side Franchitti's No. 50 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car while running side-by-side for the lead on the white flag lap. The contact shot Sato's car up the track and into the Turn 1 SAFER Barrier, bringing out the yellow flag.

Franchitti led teammate Scott Dixon and Kanaan under the twin checkered flags to cap a wild race featuring the new car-engine package. There were a record 34 lead changes among 10 drivers.

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

JR Hildebrand 
No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing Chevrolet  
CaliConnection: Sausaluto 
10th in points

14th PLACE FINISH:  "Not by anybody's doing in particular, but it just kind of ended up being a long day for us. We got caught up in somebody's pit lane incident early that put us back. Then we kept climbing our way back up through the field but then ended up continuing to run into problems. It's disappointing for the National Guard boys. We felt like we had a good shot at running up at the front today and at points during the race had that going. We'll just keep working through the season and get ready for Indy next year."

Oriol Servia 
No. 22 Panther/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet  
CaliConnection: Santa Monica 
13th in points

4th PLACE FINISH:  "We got a flat spot on our first stint and I was like, 'Wow, a lap down already'. Usually, you get a chance to get your lap back and it didn't happen until the last pit stop. We were last, but on the lead lap. I knew it was our chance. Every restart, we moved forward. It was like non-stop. If there was one more restart, I think we would have had something for the win. But, I'm not complaining. Basically last to fourth. I'm super happy. We never gave up. We had a couple of issues. We knew we could do it together. We finished second in the pit stop competition and showed that we have nothing to fear from the big teams. We showed that again on the restarts. I'm extremely proud of all of us."

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

8th PLACE FINISH:  "All day long, we had fun. There was dicing. A lot of times this race, you ride around for 100 laps. Not today. Everybody was on it. It felt like I had just done 200 qualifying laps. It's brilliant. I give a lot of credit to the Novo-Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing crew. The car was rock-solid all day. I could save fuel in the draft while running 217 (mph) behind guys. It gave us that shot. When the yellow came out, we didn't have to get a wave around. We were up front. We stayed up front. The car delivered when I needed it. I didn't quite deliver. I need another year or two to work on the restarts, but I've learned the lessons. Next year will be even better."

Townsend Bell 
No. 99 BraunAbility-Schmidt Pelfrey Motorsports Honda 
CaliConnection: San Francisco
28th in points       

9th PLACE FINISH:  "I think this car punches a pretty good hole in the air. When you get a run on somebody, you can really accelerate into that hole and pop out. Everyone seemed pretty racy today. I had a lot of fun. I hope everyone's OK from the crashes. It was a heck of an Indy 500. It's amazing Dario pulls it off again. We're thrilled with a top-10 finish. We're a small team. I didn't quite have the straightaway speed we thought we should have today, but we're proud to finish in the top 10."


IZOD IndyCar Series Driver Leaders:

Position, Driver, Points
1, WILL POWER, 200
2, HELIO CASTRONEVES, 164
3, JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, 164
4, SCOTT DIXON, 153 
5, RYAN HUNTER-REAY, 143
6, DARIO FRANCHITTI, 136 
7, SIMON PAGENAUD, 136 
8, RYAN BRISCOE, 128
9, TONY KANAAN, 113 
10, JR HILDEBRAND, 103

NEXT IZOD INDYCAR SERIES RACE: Sunday, June 3 @ the Streets of Belle Isle.

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