California Connection: How our California NASCAR Drivers Fared this Weekend at Darlington

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (May 13, 2013) – Driving the No. 20 Home Depot/Husky Toyota Camry, Matt Kenseth was victorious in Saturday night's Bojangles Southern 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at South Carolina's Darlington Raceway. The victory is also Kenseth's 27th career win and his third of the season. 

In his 700th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career start, Jeff Gordon took the lead for Team Chevy by scoring a third-place finish in his No. 24 Cromax Pro Chevrolet SS.  A seven-time winner at Darlington, this marked Gordon’s 300th top-five finish in the sport; which recognizes him as becoming the fourth driver to accomplish this feat (joining David Pearson, Bobby Allison and Richard Petty).

Last year’s Darlington race winner Jimmie Johnson, brought his No. 48 Lowe’s Emerald Green Chevrolet SS home in fourth.  With his top-five finish, Johnson maintained his position as the current Series point leader.
 
A stout fifth-place finish by Kevin Harvick in his No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, not only boosted him to 10th-place in the standings, but also gave Team Chevy three of the top-five spots in the finishing order.

Below is how all our California drivers fared in Darlington.

Jimmie Johnson
No. 48 Lowe’s Emerald Green Chevrolet
CaliConnection: El Cajon
1st in points

4th PLACE FINISH:    "It was just a great 500 miles here at Darlington. We had a great car. We lost a little tack position at the end. But we still got back into the Top-5; but I kind of ran second and third all night long; wish I was a little bit better, but this Emerald Green Lowe’s Chevrolet was doing a good job. We had fun. I love this place. I wish we could race here three or four times a year.”

Kevin Harvick
No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet
CaliConnection: Bakersfield
10th in points

5th PLACE FINISH:   "That was a pretty good run for this whole Budweiser Chevrolet team tonight. We were loose for most of the race and those long green-flag stops didn't help us any, either. When we got caught a lap down there, I thought it was going to ruin our night. But, we overcame that, had great stops on pit road and took advantage of things out of our control to finish fifth. It was a good night for this team."

Jeff Gordon
No. 24 Cromas Pro Chevrolet  
CaliConnection: Vallejo
12th in points

3rd PLACE FINISH:  “It was a great result for us.  Just a great battle by this team.  I'm most proud that we kept battling.  We had good pit stops, the last one being a great one.  Fortunate to come home with a third place finish.  Very happy with it.”

Casey Mears
No. 13 GEICO Ford
CaliConnection: Bakersfield
25th in points

37th PLACE FINISH:  “We honestly weren’t that bad.  We weren’t great, but I thought we were pretty good.  Early on we had a tear-off on the front of the car that blocked the whole thing and we had to come in and get that off because it was overheating, so that put us a lap down.  Then we left a right-rear tire loose and had to come in for that and were four laps down.  And then there at the end we were just trying to get the wavearound and get a lap back and we got three-wide and I think the 27 got loose and got into us.  It’s unfortunate, but the good thing about this weekend was that we had speed.  I was pretty happy with the progress we made as a team.  We just didn’t get a chance to show it.”

David Gilliland 
No. 38 Long John Silver’s Ford
CaliConnection: Riverside
31st in points

29th PLACE FINISH:   Gilliland qualified 29th, and finished 5 laps down in 29th place. 

AJ Allmendinger 
CaliConnection: Los Gatos
37th in points

Allmendinger did not compete in Saturday’s NASCAR race.

Scott Speed
No. 95 Ford
CaliConnection: Manteca
38th in points

41st PLACE FINISH:   Speed qualified 36th and finished in 41st after experiencing brake issues on lap 77 taking him out of the race.

Josh Wise
No. 35 MDS Transport Ford
CaliConnection: Riverside
49th in points

38th PLACE FINISH:  Wise started the race in the 34th position and finished in 38th place after an accident on the 326 lap that took him out of the race.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Driver Leaders:

Position, Driver, Points
1, JIMMIE JOHNSON, 423
2, CARL EDWARDS, 379
3, MATT KENSETH, 364
4, DALE EARNHARDT, JR., 359
5, CLINT BOWYER, 349
6, KASEY KAHNE, 326
7, BRAD KESELOWSKI, 326
8, KYLE BUSCH, 325
9, ARIC ALMIROLA, 317
10, KEVIN HARVICK, 315
11, PAUL MENARD, 315
12, JEFF GORDON, 311



NEXT NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES RACE: All-Star Race Saturday, May 18 @ Charlotte.

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SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (May 13, 2013) – The IZOD INDYCAR Series finished day two of practice on Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) as drivers prepare for the 97th running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 26.

Defending IZOD IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay (Dana Point, Calif.), No.1 DHL Andretti Autosport Chevrolet, was second-fastest (222.825 mph).    While California native and INDYCAR rookie, A.J. Allmendinger (No. 2 IZOD Team Penske Chevrolet) rounded out the top-five fastest on the day at 221.279 mph.

Teams will continue practicing each day at IMS through Friday. Pole qualifying is scheduled to begin Saturday at 8 a.m. PT. It will be televised live by NBC Sports Network, which also will air a special preview Friday at 12:30 p.m.
 
ABC’s Indy 500 race broadcast is set to begin at 9 a.m. on May 26.

Ryan Hunter-Reay
No.  1 DHL Chevrolet
CaliConnection: Dana Point
6th in points

“It’s just so great to be back at Indy. The feeling of the first day back on track is pretty special. Andretti Autosport has had a good season so far. We have certainly had a strong run, but all that has nothing to do with Indy. It is kind of like you start over here. We really don’t know where we stack up yet compared to everybody because we haven’t had a full-field out there yet. Today was a good day just to check some things out. We went through some of the bigger changes trying to understand a few things that we were looking at in the winter. Then, we had a chance to run with the teammates. That got interesting at times, but it was fun though. It was fun just getting back in that rhythm of running in traffic at Indy. This place is so special for so many reasons, and it really drives like no other race track. It was good to get back in it; shake a little bit of rust off at Indy, and ready for the week.”

Charlie Kimball
No.  83 Novo Nordisk Honda
CaliConnection: Camarillo
10th in points

After the practice session at IMS on Sunday, Kimball blogged “Today was a good second day at IMS. We shook the primary car down and went through a couple of changes. It's still early in the week and we're still trying to get a handle on where the track is going to be, especially as we get closer to qualifying at the end of the week. It was a good opening weekend. We're really happy with the pace of the car. As far as knowledge of what we've got heading into the week of practice, I think we feel pretty good. We've got a good foundation, and we'll keep working on the No. 83 car and get quicker all the time. The guys have been really good on practice pit stops.  We'll keep working on that too because I know they'll be rock solid on race day.”

Oriol Servia
No. 22 Panther DRR Chevrolet
CaliConnection: Santa Monica
8th in points

"We're coming off a strong two races, Long Beach and Brazil - 4th in Brazil, which is the same as we finished here (IMS) last year. Everyone wants to win this race. It's the biggest race on the planet. Everyone is super excited, motivated, and prepared.”

JR Hildebrand
No. 4 National Guard
Panther Racing Chevrolet
CaliConnection: Sausalito
16th in points

“It was nice to get out here and run some laps, but this was mainly just a shake down for us. The National Guard car felt fine out there and we obviously weren’t being very aggressive with the car. It’s always nice to get back out to the Speedway and we’re excited about continuing our program this week.”

AJ Allmendinger 
No. 2 IZOD Team Penske Chevrolet 
CaliConnection: Los Gatos
26th in points

“Another day in the learning process today and we got a couple different things tested in the No. 2 IZOD Team Penske Chevrolet that should be helpful as we move on. We did a couple of short runs and a full tank run so I could see how the car would feel and I am getting more comfortable with it. To a certain degree I also got to see how the car is going to react in traffic and I thought that was really good. Obviously the cold conditions are a little different than what we will probably have for the race. But to do a race run the car felt pretty good and I’m happy with the progress we made.”

IZOD IndyCar Series Driver Leaders:

Position, Driver, Points
1, TAKUMA SATO, 136
2, MARCO ANDRETTI, 123
3, HELIO CASTRONEVES, 116
4, JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, 112
5, SCOTT DIXON, 101
6, RYAN HUNTER-REAY, 94
7, JUSTIN WILSON, 91
8, ORIOL SERVIA, 89
9, SIMONA DE SILVESTRO, 86
10, CHARLIE KIMBALL, 80

  

NEXT IZOD INDYCAR SERIES RACE: Sunday, May 26 @ Indianapolis

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