CaliConnection: How our California INDYCAR and NASCAR drivers fared this weekend at Sonoma and Bristol

Several IZOD IndyCar Series and NASCAR drivers have California connections. Below is a roundup of how each California driver fared at their respective races this weekend.

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (Aug. 27, 2012) – Ryan Briscoe had finished second, third and fourth at Sonoma in the past four years. Needless to say, he was due to visit Wine Country Winners Circle at the raceway at Sonoma.  Briscoe, who started next to Team Penske teammate and pole sitter Will Power, held off Power on a pair of late restarts and won the GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma by 0.4408 of a second for his first victory since Texas in 2010. He became the seventh different winner in 13 IZOD IndyCar Series races this season.

Below is how our California drivers fared this weekend.

JR Hildebrand 
No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing Chevrolet  
CaliConnection: Sausalito 
11th in points

8th PLACE FINISH:  "We had a little bit of a fueling issue during the first stop, which was really a bummer because we had to end up making an extra pit stop and it threw our strategy off for the day. But at the end of the day we were able to put the pedal to the metal to catch up and get ourselves back on the lead lap. We were like ten seconds back, you know a lap down, so we caught up a bunch of time and we were really able to get good use out of our red tire. Given what we've been going through this weekend, we made some really significant improvements to the car. Based on the fact that we did have to make an extra pit stop we had to work really hard to get to the Top Ten. The boys did a really great job, and it's nice to finally have a single digit finish back at home, I'm definitely happy."

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

19th PLACE FINISH: “Even when we started at the back we thought that we had a car to move up to the front with strategy, but it just wasn’t happening and then we had a couple of incidents. Difficult weekend, but the TranSystems car was really good in the end so I think that we will have good pace in Baltimore.”

Charlie Kimball 
No. 83 NovoRapid FlexPen Honda  
CaliConnection: Camarillo 
18th in points

21st PLACE FINISH:  "It was a really good day for the No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing team. The car was really quick. We just have to get out qualifying figured out. I have to find those two-tenths to get into the top-12 because the fact that we drove to the top-10, shows we have the pace. The guys in the pit lane today were awesome. The fact that we had to change the gear-stack in the end there in the middle of a race just shows that there's a lot of credit to them. We'll go back and figure out what went wrong and be stronger in these last two races."

IZOD IndyCar Series Driver Leaders:

Position, Driver, Points
1, WILL POWER, 422
2, RYAN HUNTER-REAY, 386
3, HELIO CASTRONEVES, 381  
4, SCOTT DIXON, 368   
5, SIMON PAGENAUD, 337 
6, TONY KANAAN, 327
7, JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, 327
8, RYAN BRISCOE, 317
9, DARIO FRANCHITTI, 306
10, GRAHAM RAHAL, 286

NEXT IZOD INDYCAR SERIES RACE: Sunday, Sept. 2 @ Baltimore.

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SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (Aug. 27, 2012) – The No. 11 FedEx Toyota of Denny Hamlin won the Irwin Tools Night Race Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway for his 3rd win of year and 20th career win.  California’s five-time Sprint Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson secured a spot in the Chase with a second-place finish.

Below is how our California drivers fared this weekend.

Jimmie Johnson 
No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet   
CaliConnection: El Cajon 
2nd in points

2nd PLACE FINISH: “Tonight was intense.  To start that deep in the field when they drop the green, you're half a lap behind, if not more, the initial start.  To get going was important for us, but then being back there, we had to get some track position somehow.  So we pitted a few times and tried to get some fuel in the car and set up a strategy for us later in the race.  That really ended up working out nice for us.  So credit to Chad (Knaus, Crew Chief) and Greg (Ives, race Engineer) for calling a great race strategy wise.  We had a fast car, and it, at times, I think maybe a race winning car, but certainly a top three car all night long.  It was just a matter of getting to the front and surviving.”

 
Kevin Harvick  
No. 29 Rheem Chevrolet  
CaliConnection: Bakersfield 
9th in points
15th PLACE FINISH:  Kevin Harvick drove Richard Childress Racing's No. 29 Rheem Chevrolet to a 15th-place finish Saturday night.  "The Rheem crew did a great job tonight. The car was good all weekend long, it just came down to fuel mileage. We couldn't make it until the end and were forced to make an extra pit stop." 

Jeff Gordon 
No. 24 Farm Ville Drive To End Hunger/AARP Chevrolet   
CaliConnection: Vallejo 
14th in points    

3rd PLACE FINISH:  “I made one mistake that cost us, I think it possibly cost us the win.  We had new tires on, and I was fighting pretty hard on that outside to try to maintain the position, gain some positions, and I got up high and pushed a little too hard.  I thought I hit oil, but maybe I just got too loose.  And I got up out of the groove, which was possible to do off of 4, and that put something on my tires down on 1 and 2 and got into the wall.  And that cost us a bunch of positions and that changed our pit strategy and everything and that hurt us.”

Casey Mears  
No. 13 GEICO Ford   
CaliConnection: Bakersfield 
26th in points

21st PLACE FINISH:  Despite sitting on the pole, the Bakersfield native had a rough day, finishing 21st on the day.

David Gilliland  
No. 38 Taco Bell Ford   
CaliConnection: Riverside 
27th in points 

20th PLACE FINISH:  Starting 18th, Gilliland dropped two positions to finish the day in 20th. 

Josh Wise  
No. 26 MDS Transport Ford  
CaliConnection: Riverside  
39th in points

38th PLACE FINISH:  The Sonoco Rookie of the Year Contender finished 40th, facing break problems 150 laps into the event.

Scott Speed  
No. 95 TWD Ford     
CaliConnection: Manteca  
43th in points

Speed failed to qualify in the weekend’s event.

Mike Skinner  
No. 98 Phil Parsons Racing Ford 
CaliConnection: Susanville 
52nd in points

Skinner did not compete in the weekend’s event.



NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Driver Leaders:

Position, Driver, Points
1, GREG BIFFLE, 849
2, JIMMIE JOHNSON, 838 
3, DALE EARNHARDT, JR., 834 
4, MATT KENSETH, 823
5, MARTIN TRUEX, JR., 797
6, CLINT BOWYER, 794  
7, BRAD KESELOWSKI, 790 
8, DENNY HAMLIN, 774
9, KEVIN HARVICK, 767
10, TONY STEWART, 746  
11, KASEY KAHNE, 730
12, CARL EDWARDS, 712

NEXT NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES RACE: Sunday Sept. 2 @ Atlanta

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NASCAR recently identified several drivers in their weekly and touring series that they have identified as young up and coming stars who represent the next wave of young talent set to make an impact on the national series scene.  One of those drivers is Kyle Larson from Elk Grove, Calif. who competes in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, the highest level of NASCAR's developmental race series.  We’ll keep up with Larson’s progress as he makes his way to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.  The Series took the weekend off, preparing for its Sept. 3 event in South Carolina.

NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Driver Leaders:

Position, Driver, Points
1, BRETT MOFFITT, 392
2, KYLE LARSON, 372
3, CHASE ELLIOTT, 370
4, COREY LAJOIE, 367
5, EDDIE MACDONALD, 340
6, BRYAN ORTIZ, 339
7, BRANDON GDOVIC, 337
8, BEN KENNEDY, 334
9, SERGIO PENA, 321
10, DARRELL WALLACE, JR. , 311

NEXT K&N EAST SERIES RACE:  Sept. 3 @ Greenville (S.C.) Pickens Speedway.

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