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Kasey Kahne?! Yes, in a Sonoma surprise

Don't look behind you, Kasey, you don't want to see this gang of thieves. Kahne, under sponsorship pressure, under pressure from Detroit, and certainly an underdog this season much of the time (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

   SONOMA, Calif.
   Points racing, gas-mileage racing…..that's not what made NASCAR famous.
   But that's pretty much what NASCAR racing has become, the past few weeks at least.
   And this tight road course, with only two decent passing spots, isn't easy even in the best of times.
   At least over the last 20 laps of Sunday's 112-lap overtime Sonoma 350 drivers got after it hot and heavy – and Kasey Kahne pulled the surprise, holding off Tony Stewart and Marcos Ambrose for the upset victory at Infineon Raceway.
   The win was car owner Richard Petty's first in quite a while, and comes amid speculation about Petty's future with car maker Dodge, which he says hasn't kept up with its expected payments during the Detroit bankruptcy.
   Only three of the top 12 finishers had ever won a road course race, Stewart, sixth-place Juan Pablo Montoya, and ninth place Jeff Gordon.
   Kahne's win, by six lengths, was quite a surprise, considering his team's struggles and Stewart's prowess this season.
   The race went to a two-lap shootout after a late race yellow for a series of spins.

  Kasey Kahne (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   Jeff Gordon struggled most of the day and a speeding penalty didn't help; he wound up ninth, in quite a comeback. Teammate Jimmie Johnson, also hit with a pit road penalty and forced to make a comeback, was in contention down the stretch, finishing fourth. Teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. had to hustle to get up to the top-12, and then he got tangled up late and finished 26th.
   Johnson was in the middle of a mid-race controversy when he tangled with Kurt Busch; Busch was ticked, but Johnson came up to him after the race and apologized for the bobble.
   Ambrose was quite impressive in that he had start at the rear of the field.
   Kahne's run was almost shocking, considering he's never run very well on road courses.
   "I can't believe it, to tell the truth," Kahne said. "We've had some ups and down this year, so this is good for the guys back in the shop.
   "It's unbelievable to win a road course race."
   "It's great, man, it is great," Petty said.
    Kahne had to fend off Stewart on four late-race restarts, and he did each time, perhaps surprising too: "Stewart is as good as they get out here," Kahne said.
   "We were fast, but Kasey was matching us lap for lap," Stewart said. "Kasey never made a mistake. The kid just ran a perfect race.
   "When Marcos got by Montoya, I was worried we'd have our hands full with him."
   "It's just a great recovery for our team," Ambrose said. He was forced to the rear of the field for the start after blowing a motor in practice.
  "We had a disadvantage after Saturday, so third feels like a win.  When you get up front in that rarified air, you've got to do your best."


Tony Stewart (14) could get to the front easily, but once Kasey Kahne got ahead of him, Kahne was uncatchable (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

Great run by Kahne. Such a

Great run by Kahne. Such a quiet,soft spoken racer. (Seems like an oxymoron,I know)Given a good car,he never fails to get the job done.

Too bad JPM didn't have the car to make a run at Kahne after great restart passing TS.

Just wanted to ask Mike a

Just wanted to ask Mike a question (not for posting, maybe he will write a paragraph about it)

I noticed while watching the race yesterday on TNT that Kyle Petty did not wish his dad a happy father's day even though they talked all around it. Is there a rift or something between the King and Kyle?


Kahne has been my boy since

Kahne has been my boy since 2004!! I hope he goes to Stewart-Haas when they expand. GEM and now RPM just haven't been stable enough. Between different owners and multiple Dodge changes it's been crazy!
I heard too that Bud was going to be gone soon. So I hope KK and Stewart are discussing the possibility.
GEM/RPM is not the Evernham Motorsports it once was.

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