How our California NASCAR drivers fared in Las Vegas

CALIFORNIA CONNECTION  

Several NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers have California connections, including 5-time Champion Jimmie Johnson who hails from El Cajon.  Below is a roundup of how each Californian driver fared at the Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.  

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (March 8, 2011) —  California drivers battle in the desert, as several California drivers made their mark in the Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Sunday.  Below is how the Golden State drivers competed in this past weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event:

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AJ Allmendinger          No. 43 Best Buy Ford                           Hometown: Los Gatos              9th in points 19th PLACE FINISH:  “I felt like overall we had a good car. We’d either be really good or we’d be a little bit loose and struggle on long runs. I felt like if we could have stayed green a long time we would’ve been really good. All in all, to start the season with an 11th and ninth place finish with as many wrecks as we’ve been in and not actually gotten wrecked is all right. We’ll take it.”  

Jimmie Johnson           No. 48 Lowe’s / KOBALT Tools Chevrolet  Hometown: El Cajon                12th in points 16th PLACE FINISH:  “Yeah, we started pretty far off but we made some real smart adjustments and got the car real close and then at the end we had a couple of bad things go our way,” said Johnson. “A bad stop, and lost track position. We didn’t adjust on it on one stop when we needed to and just started slipping back at the end. But for a while we had momentum going our way and we worked our way to a decent finish and then had a little trouble late.”  

Jeff Gordon                   No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet                      Hometown: Vallejo                   19th in points    

36th PLACE FINISH:  “The day actually started out pretty good for the DuPont Chevrolet. We were further up toward the front than I thought we would be based on practice yesterday so pretty happy with that. But, the track kept tightening up and we just couldn’t stay up with it so we started falling back a little bit on those restarts. We were definitely were fighting a tight condition right there, but I certainly wasn’t expecting to blow a tire like that going into three. Thankful for the safer barrier here at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and a safe race car.”  

Kevin Harvick               No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet                 Hometown: Bakersfield            20th in points 17th PLACE FINISH: “Gil (Martin) and the guys on the Budweiser crew gave me a good car today. That speeding penalty killed us.  We got stuck back in traffic and just couldn’t go anywhere after that.”  

David Gilliland              No. 34 Taco Bell Ford                           Hometown: Riverside               21st in points 

37th PLACE FINISH:  “It is a tough day for our Taco Bell Ford Fusion. I don’t think we have seen a whole lot of tire issues through the weekend. That last lap we ran on the race track was as fast as we had run.  It was a hard hit, but I’m fine.”  

Robby Gordon              No. 7 SPEED Energy Dodge                 Hometown: Orange                  27th in points 31st PLACE FINISH:  “We were supposed to be good to go to the finish (on fuel), but ran out and turned a 27th-place finish into a 31st. The 27th would have been a decent day as bad as our race car was. We just don’t have a handle on it. We haven’t caught on to what it takes with the new nose. When you run with the leaders, you can almost run their speed; when you run with the guys in the back, you run their speed. It’s all relevant to the cars you have around you.”  

Casey Mears                No. 13 GEICO Toyota                           Hometown: Bakersfield               33rd in points 25th PLACE FINISH:  “Sure, it was a tough day, but once again this GEICO team never gave up. We all remained calm and just kept working hard trying to get the car right and get a decent finish.  We could’ve very easily quit and just took a 35th place finish, but that’s not in us.”  

Mike Skinner                No. 32 Southern Pride Trucking Ford         Hometown: Susanville             44th in points 29th PLACE FINISH:  While Skinner is a veteran NASCAR driver, the Kobalt Tools 400 was Skinner’s second Sprint Cup race, where he qualified 29th and had a solid finish leading the 60th lap, finishing the race in 29th place.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Driver Leaders:

Position           Driver                                       Points 1                     

TONY STEWART                       113 2                     

KURT BUSCH                           113 3                     

CARL EDWARDS                      106 4                     

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA          106 5                     

RYAN NEWMAN                       103 6                     

PAUL MENARD                        96 7                     

MARTIN TRUEX JR.                  95 8                     

DENNY HAMLIN                        95 9                     

A J ALLMENDINGER                94 10                    

DALE EARNHARDT JR.            91 11                    

MARK MARTIN                          91 12                    

JIMMIE JOHNSON                    87

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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