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

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. Below is a roundup of how each California driver fared at their respective races this weekend.

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (June 17, 2013) – Greg Biffle feels right at home at Michigan International Speedway.  He took the lead for good on a late restart and ran away from the field in the closing laps to win Sunday's Quicken Loans 400. The No. 16 Ford driver won his second straight race here and the 19th of his career. Four of those victories have come at MIS.

Below is how our California NASCAR drivers fared in Michigan.

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

28th PLACE FINISH:    “Yeah, it’s just a bummer. We had a great race car. Our strategy was throwing some challenges at us today and we just struggled with maintaining track position. But we had a fast car and I could drive up through there and as soon as I’d get to first or second, a caution would come out and then something would happen again and we’d lose track position. But we had a great race car and I hate having that problem at the end. I had to run the car really hard to get through all those guys and must have worn through that right front tire with two or three (laps) to go, it went down going into Turn 1.”

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

2nd PLACE FINISH:  "We had a few vibrations during the race and you just have to ride them out and stay in the race. Gil (Martin, crew chief) and the Budweiser Chevrolet team did a great job on pit road managing stops during the race. They just kept making good adjustments, with the biggest ones coming on the first pit stop. It was a good day for us, we fought through the vibrations to stay out there and came up with a good finish."

Jeff Gordon
No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet 
CaliConnection: Vallejo
16th in points

39th PLACE FINISH:  An accident put Gordon behind the wall on lap 52.  “Bobby Labonte (No. 51 Phoenix Construction Services Chevrolet SS) just lost it over there in Turn 2. He just did one of those slow spins where I couldn’t tell which direction he was going to go, so I had to guess and I guessed the wrong way. I didn’t really have anywhere to go.  But I just can’t believe the way this season is going for us in this Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet. It seems like we can run all day long when we can’t get the car right but when we finally get the car right, something like this happens. At Charlotte, I thought our car was awesome and I was really pleased with the way the car took off right there. We were really going to march up through the field. It’s unfortunate. This team just continues to have to face adversity and I appreciate how strong they are during it, but I just wish we didn’t all have to be tested quite this much.”

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

21st PLACE FINISH:  Mears was only able to move up three spots on the day.

David Gilliland
No. 38 Long John Silver’s Ford
CaliConnection: Riverside
29th in points

22nd PLACE FINISH:   Gilliland was able to move up 4 spots on the day.

AJ Allmendinger 
No. 47 Charter Toyota
CaliConnection: Los Gatos
36th in points

19th PLACE FINISH:  Allmendinger started 32 on the day, finishing 19th.

Scott Speed
CaliConnection: Manteca
39th in points

Speed did not compete in Sunday’s race.

Josh Wise
No. 35 MDS Transport Ford
CaliConnection: Riverside
50th in points

40th PLACE FINISH:  The Riverside native was only able to drive 51 laps before a vibration problem ended his day.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Driver Leaders:

Position, Driver, Points
1, JIMMIE JOHNSON, 538
2, CARL EDWARDS, 507
3, CLINT BOWYER, 489
4, KEVIN HARVICK, 476
5, MATT KENSETH, 456
6, KYLE BUSCH, 452
7, DALE EARNHARDT JR., 447 
8, GREG BIFFLE, 443
9, BRAD KESELOWSKI, 430
10, TONY STEWART, 417
11, PAUL MENARD, 415
12, KASEY KAHNE, 407

NEXT NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES RACE: Sunday, June 23 @ Sonoma.

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SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (June 17, 2013) – Ryan Hunter-Reay, whose victory in the Milwaukee IndyFest last June was the springboard to claiming the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series championship, repeated the achievement at the historic Milwaukee Mile.

Hunter-Reay overtook race leader Takuma Sato on Lap 198 of 250 and went on to win by 4.809 seconds over Helio Castroneves.  Will Power finished third for his first podium of the season. E.J. Viso and James Hinchcliffe -- Andretti Autosport teammates to Hunter-Reay -- also were in the top five.

Below is how our INDYCAR drivers with a California connection fared at Milwaukee.

Ryan Hunter-Reay
No.  1 DHL Chevrolet
CaliConnection: Dana Point
4th in points

1st PLACE FINISH:  “Man, I did it for that little guy, my son. He’s six months old and I couldn’t be happier. Happy Father’s Day again; we did this again last year. It’s the best day on earth and I appreciate it. Man, it’s so great to win for DHL and Chevy and look at this. We’ve got this little guy here!  “The team just was awesome all day. We had varying levels of grip the whole race and different levels of balance and man, we just stuck with it. And in the end, we knew what we had to do to win. And what a race it was.

Charlie Kimball
No.  83 NovoLog FlexPen Honda
CaliConnection: Camarillo
21st in points

17th PLACE FINISH:  “There are definitely a lot of lessons to be learned that we’ll take from today.  We just have to figure out what they are and make the most of them moving forward.  We’re looking forward to making our way to Iowa so we can make the changes and we’ll go racing.”

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

Servia did not compete in Saturday’s INDYCAR race.

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

Allmendinger did not compete in Saturday’s INDYCAR race.

IZOD IndyCar Series Driver Leaders:

Position, Driver, Points
1, HELIO CASTRONEVES, 299
2, RYAN HUNTER-REAY, 283
3, MARCO ANDRETTI, 249
4, TAKUMA SATO, 223
5, SCOTT DIXON, 221
6, TONY KANAAN, 215
7, SIMON PAGENAUD, 212
8, JUSTIN WILSON, 207
9, JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, 206
10, DARIO FRANCHITTI, 192

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

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