California Connection: How our California NASCAR and INDYCAR Drivers Fared at Daytona and Pocono

Several NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and IZOD IndyCar Series drivers have California connections, including 5-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson who hails from El Cajon.

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (July 8, 2013) – Behind the wheel of the No. 48 Lowe’s Dover White Chevrolet SS, Jimmie Johnson became the first driver to win both NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) races at Daytona International Speedway in the same season, in 31 years.  The last driver to accomplish this feat was Hall of Fame driver Bobby Allison, in 1982. Johnson, the current series point leader, led 94 laps of the161-lap race and extended his lead to a 49-point advantage after 18 races.  This was his fourth victory of 2013 and 64th career NSCS win.

Below is how our California NASCAR drivers fared in Daytona.

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

1st PLACE FINISH:    "This style of racing and track position being as important as it is and racing every lap, I don't know if it's something with the air in the draft that works better for me, or just being in the rhythm and racing so hard every lap that it makes a big difference.  We've had a chance to win every plate race this year and we got two of the three.  But Talladega going into the white flag lap I felt like we were in a great position and came home with a top 5 or something.  Been a very, very strong year on plate tracks for us.”

Kevin Harvick
No. 29 Budweiser Folds of Honor Chevrolet
CaliConnection: Bakersfield
4th in points 

3rd PLACE FINISH:  "I thought we were in a good spot. The whole thing on the restarts is just getting your line to form.  Everybody on our Budweiser Chevrolet team did a great job. We were able to hold Jimmie (Johnson) door-to-door until the exit of turn two, but on both of those restarts the No. 14 and No. 15, and whoever was behind them. Just couldn't get our line formed up. All night it seemed like the top line would form pretty fast and those guys were able to get going a lot quicker than the inside line."
 

Jeff Gordon
No. 24 Axalta Coating Systems Chevrolet  
CaliConnection: Vallejo
14th in points

34th PLACE FINISH:  With 11 laps remaining, Denny Hamlin veered to the right suddenly and into the outside wall. In his wake he collected the cars of Gordon, Matt Kenseth, AJ Allmendinger and Dave Blaney. "I don't know I just saw somebody spin in front of me.  We all tried to avoid it. I guess it was the No. 11 (Hamlin) and we all tried to avoid them and Matt (Kenseth) got sideways and then I didn't have anywhere to go either. Got the right-front and that just sent the car into the wall."

Casey Mears
No. 13 GEICO Ford
CaliConnection: Bakersfield
24th in points

9th PLACE FINISH:  Mears was able to move up 10 spots on the day to finish in the Top 10.  “It was OK, but we should have been better.  That second-to-last restart we restarted eighth and the 15 laid way back on the restart and had a huge run.  There were three lanes open.  The bottom lane moved to the bottom and I had like three lanes to try to block and he had a run and got to the inside of us and we dropped all the way to the back.  But we had a really big run there at the end and picked the right lane and got through a bunch of guys, so that’s not the way we wanted to finish because we were sitting in the catbird’s seat there, where I thought we could have had a chance to win this thing, but we rallied back for a decent day.” 

David Gilliland 
No. 38 Long John Silver’s Ford
CaliConnection: Riverside
27th in points

15th PLACE FINISH:   Gilliland was able to move up 13 spots on the day.  “We’re happy, but a little disappointed.  We were there.  We were definitely in contention there at the end and had a good run on the last lap coming off turn two, so I felt like we were in contention to win right there, for sure.  Kurt and I had a good run on the outside and came up a little short because we ran out of help.  But I’m proud of my guys and proud of our effort.  I’m happy and overall it was a good day for us.”

AJ Allmendinger 
No. 51 Phoenix Construction Chevrolet
CaliConnection: Los Gatos
36th in points

35th PLACE FINISH:  Allmendinger fell from 33rd at the start to 35th at the end of Sunday’s race after being caught up in an accident on lap 149.

Scott Speed
No. 95 Leavine Family Racing Ford
CaliConnection: Manteca
39th in points

28th PLACE FINISH:  Speed started the race in 36th position in Sunday’s race.

Josh Wise
No. 35 MDS Transport Ford
CaliConnection: Riverside
57th in points

25th PLACE FINISH:  The Riverside native was able to move up 12 spots on the day.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Driver Leaders:

Position, Driver, Points
1, JIMMIE JOHNSON, 658
2, CLINT BOWYER, 609
3, CARL EDWARDS, 587
4, KEVIN HARVICK, 585
5, DALE EARNHARDT, JR., 548
6, MATT KENSETH, 540
7, KYLE BUSCH, 533 
8, GREG BIFFLE, 516
9, KURT BUSCH, 501
10, TONY STEWART, 499
11, MARTIN TRUEX JR, 493
12, KASEY KAHNE, 490

NEXT NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES RACE: Sunday, July 14 @ Loudon, New Hampshire.

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SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (July 8, 2013) – INDYCAR racing returned to Pocono Raceway after a 23-year absence and Target Chip Ganassi Racing (TCGR) driver Scott Dixon earned his 30th career victory while teammate Dario Franchitti finished third in Round 11 of the IZOD IndyCar Series in the Pocono INDYCAR 400.  The double-podium finish was part of an overall Chip Ganassi Racing Teams (CGRT) sweep of the podium with CGRT teammate Charlie Kimball finishing second.  In addition, the race marked the100th win for the Target Racing Program and the 200th win for Honda in Indy car racing.

Below is how our California NASCAR drivers fared at Pocono Raceway.

Ryan Hunter-Reay
No.  1 DHL Chevrolet
CaliConnection: Dana Point
2nd in points 

20th PLACE FINISH:    Holding a spot within the top three for much of the beginning of the 400-mile race, Hunter-Reay was put out of contention when he was hit from behind while traveling down pit lane.   "We had a great car today, just a little too much understeer to start with, so we were just going to add front wing as we went. I really think we had a great car to challenge for the win, was really looking forward to the rest of the race - I love this race track. Then we were just coming in to pitlane, minding our own business, and we get creamed from behind. It's unfortunate but we've come from further back to win the championship and we're determined to do it again. The DHL Chevy boys got me back out on the track; we tried to salvage some points, and I think we got one position. It's so frustrating when you're running top three, top two, really happy with your car and then somebody comes from out of nowhere to take you out."

Charlie Kimball
No.  83 NovoLog FlexPen Honda
CaliConnection: Camarillo
12th in points

2nd PLACE FINISH:    The podium finish comes in Kimball’s 42nd career IZOD INDYCAR Series start, tying his career-best finish of second in the Honda Indy Toronto on the Streets of Toronto in 2012.  “Both Thursday at the test as well as yesterday, we really focused on our race car.  The Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing team, the whole Chip Ganassi Racing crew as evidenced by the one-two-three finish, was focusing on race day, knowing that’s when it mattered.  So throughout today, the guys made it better on each pit stop and the car just got quicker and quicker.  A lot of credit to Honda, they gave us the fuel mileage and speed today.”

Oriol Servia
No. 4 National Guard
Panther Racing Chevrolet
CaliConnection: Santa Monica

Servia did not compete in Sunday’s INDYCAR race.

AJ Allmendinger 
No. 2 IZOD Team Penske Chevrolet 
CaliConnection: Los Gatos

Allmendinger did not compete in Sunday’s INDYCAR race.

IZOD IndyCar Series Driver Leaders:

Position, Driver, Points
1, HELIO CASTRONEVES, 356
2, RYAN HUNTER-REAY, 333
3, MARCO ANDRETTI, 301
4, SCOTT DIXON, 291
5, JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, 272
6, TONY KANAAN, 271
7, SIMON PAGENAUD, 253
8, JUSTIN WILSON, 233
9, WILL POWER, 242
10, TAKUMA SATO, 241

NEXT IZOD INDYCAR SERIES RACE: Saturday, July 13 on the Streets of Toronto.

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