CaliConnection: How our California NASCAR and INDYCAR Drivers Fared at Michigan and Milwaukee

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (June 18, 2012) – Dale Earnhardt Jr. took the win in the Quicken Loans 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race Sunday; marking his second victory and ninth top-10 finish in 26 races at Michigan International Speedway, and 19th career win in NASCAR’s premier series. Behind the wheel of the movie inspired No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew/The Dark Knight Rises/National Guard Chevrolet, Earnhardt Jr. led five times for a total of 95 of the 200-lap race. The victory broke a 143-race winless streak, the sixth longest stretch between wins in NASCAR Sprint Cup history.

Below is how our California drivers fared Sunday in Michigan.

Jimmie Johnson 
No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet    
CaliConnection: El Cajon 
4th in points

5th PLACE FINISH:   “Man, we were coming. We were really flying. And then I blistered the right rear again and had to just hang on and let some guys go. And then I ran out of fuel going into Turn 3 and coasted around and made it to the finish line. So, it was a tough day; but a good finish, so we’ll take that. I just couldn’t be more happy for my teammate. Junior has been chipping away at it and has been so close to victory and I’m real happy for him. What we have going on at Hendrick Motorsports, especially inside the No. 48/No. 88 shop is really special and I couldn’t be more proud of everybody involved.”

Kevin Harvick  
No. 29 Budweiser Folds of Honor Chevrolet 
CaliConnection: Bakersfield 
6th in points

10th PLACE FINISH:  "It wasn't a pretty day, but we'll take it. The Budweiser Folds of Honor Chevrolet was just too loose all day long, but the crew worked hard and we were able to pull out a 10th place finish.”

Jeff Gordon  
No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet     
CaliConnection: Vallejo 
20th in points    

6th PLACE FINISH:  Man, what a great day for Hendrick Motorsports and Junior and all those guys on that No. 88 team. I’m so proud of them. I’m proud of my guys too; we fought hard to come from 28th. It was not easy. We had a really good race car today. So Happy Father’s Day! I know to Rick (Hendrick), especially. Happy Father’s Day to you, Rick; I know that was a great Father’s Day gift. And I’m just glad we had a solid day as well. It’s something to build on.”

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

19th PLACE FINISH:  “We just had a tough day.  I’m driving my butt off and there’s always seems to be a glimmer of hope during the race and we just can’t capitalize on it.  We were really strong in the Shell/Pennzoil Dodge on the first run but never could take advantage of good track position.  We’re running on such a razors edge that it’s tough to describe what’s going on with the car.  One run we get loose, the next we’re tight.  It’s confusing as heck to describe.”

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

20th PLACE FINISH:  Mears qualified 24th and moved up on the day, finishing the race in 20th.

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

27th PLACE FINISH:  Gilliland qualified 35th, and moved up throughout the day, finishing 27th.

Josh Wise  
No. 26 MDS Transport Ford  
CaliConnection: Riverside  
42nd in points 

42nd PLACE FINISH:  Wise finished 42nd for the second week in a row, after an engine issue on lap nine put him behind the wall.

Scott Speed  
No. 79 Ford      
CaliConnection: Manteca  
49th in points

Speed did not compete in Sunday’s race.

Robby Gordon  
No. 7 Dodge    
CaliConnection: Orange 
51st in points

Gordon did not compete in Sunday’s race.

Mike Skinner  
No. 52 Toyota    
CaliConnection: Susanville 
64th in points

Skinner did not compete in Sunday’s race.



NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Driver Leaders:

Position, Driver, Points
1, MATT KENSETH, 565
2, DALE EARNHARDT, JR., 561 
3, GREG BIFFLE, 548
4, JIMMIE JOHNSON, 532 
5, DENNY HAMLIN, 514
6, KEVIN HARVICK, 504
7, MARTIN TRUEX, JR., 497
8, TONY STEWART, 491  
9, CLINT BOWYER, 481  
10, BRAD KESELOWSKI, 458 
11, CARL EDWARDS, 456
12, KYLE BUSCH, 432

NEXT NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES RACE: Sunday, June 24 @ Sonoma

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SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (June 18, 2012) - Ryan Hunter-Reay passed Helio Castroneves for the lead with 84 laps to go and held on to win the Milwaukee IndyFest at the famed Milwaukee Mile.  Hunter-Reay, who started second, led Tony Kanaan across the start-finish line by 5.1029 seconds.

Below is how our Golden Staters fared in Saturday’s IZOD IndyCar Series race in Wisconsin.

Oriol Servia 
No. 22 Panther/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet  
CaliConnection: Santa Monica 
10th in points

4th PLACE FINISH:  "It was a good car, I have trust in my guys they always give me a great car. These two-day weekends are tough. You have to unload, but (we) not with the right set-up. The car wasn't even that bad. We had to change to car completely overnight. But we qualified 20th and moved up sixteen spots, not too bad." (About racing in Milwaukee): "Track was always like it is at Milwaukee, at first there was doubts about if we could pass here, but it turns out to be an awesome race at least from our perspective. I hope the fans are happy and they come back."

JR Hildebrand 
No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing Chevrolet  
CaliConnection: Sausalito 
13th in points

22nd PLACE FINISH: “We had a pretty good run going there, even though we got caught out a little bit on that first yellow. We were having an overheating issue, and through the yellow we couldn’t get any clean air to get the thing cooled down. I think we had something jammed in the radiator. We pitted once to pick some things out of there, but I think the damage was already done at that point; once these things get up to a certain temperature they just shut down. We were running around in traffic all day, so we didn’t have much clean air, and with the humidity so high here that didn’t help. It’s obviously just an unfortunate deal for us and a bummer for the entire National Guard Panther team.”

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

17TH PLACE FINISH:  "It was a challenging race like it always is here at the Milwaukee Mile, but all credit goes to the Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing team. The guys did a good job in the pits, and they kept making the car better for me on the track. We got a little unlucky with one of those yellows and went a lap down. It was a good result as far as positive momentum, building back up and getting a clean finish. Now we'll focus on getting the No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen car ready for next weekend in Iowa."

IZOD IndyCar Series Driver Leaders:

Position, Driver, Points
1, WILL POWER, 274
2, JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, 243
3, SCOTT DIXON, 239   
4, RYAN HUNTER-REAY, 233 
5, HELIO CASTRONEVES, 231  
6, SIMON PAGENAUD, 216 
7, DARIO FRANCHITTI, 205 
8, TONY KANAAN, 200
9, RYAN BRISCOE, 193
10, ORIOL SERVIA, 173

NEXT IZOD INDYCAR SERIES RACE: Saturday, June 23 @ Iowa.

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