2009-06-25 / Sports

Kahne Is Sonoma Road Course Winner

By Gerald Hodges THE RACING REPORTER

SONOMA, Calif. - Kasey Kahne survived four double-file restarts against Tony Stewart, including a green/white/checkered one, to win Sunday's Toyota Save- Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway.

The win was the tenth of his career, but the first on a road course. His previous best finish at Infineon was 23rd in 2007.

"I learned to drive on dirt, and to win on a road course is great," said Kahne. "Stewart is as good as they get, and I was able to get away from him four or five times. The caution kept coming out, but we were able to hold him off."

The win was the first for Richard Petty's new company, Richard Petty Racing. All three of their drivers (Kahne, AJ Allmendinger and Elliott Sadler) finished in the top 10.

Tony Stewart's second-place finish allowed him to increase his points lead over Jeff Gordon, who finished ninth.

"Kasey drove an awesome race today," said Stewart. "He just didn't make any mistakes and that's what it takes to win a race like this. We were probably as good as he was, but I was never able to get in a position to make a pass."

Marcos Ambrose, who had to start from the 41st position, came in third.

The remaining top-10 drivers were Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Juan Montoya, AJ Allmendinger, Clint Bowyer, Jeff Gordon, and Elliott Sadler.

Polesitter Brian Vickers was 16th.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. never had the car to run up front. He finished 26th.

Top-12 Chase contenders after 16 of 26: 1. Stewart-2364, 2. J. Gordon-2280, 3. Johnson-2207, 4. Kurt Busch-2084, 5. Edwards- 2051, 6. Newman-2046, 7. Hamlin- 2009, 8. Biffle-1992, 9. Kyle Busch- 1962, 10. Kenseth-1957, 11. Martin 1926, 12. Montoya-1917

Edwards gets first Nationwide win of season

WEST ALLIS, Wis. - Carl Edwards made the trip from Infineon Raceway in California worthwhile on Saturday night, winning the Nationwide Series race at the Milwaukee Mile.

Edwards left Infineon earlier in the day, where he practiced his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car, to race at Milwaukee. Having to start at the rear of the field, Edwards tiptoed through the field early in the race.

After Kyle Busch led for numerous laps, Edwards chased him down and made the pass for the lead on lap 205 of the 250-lap race.

Despite two caution periods in the final 50 laps, Edwards easily pulled away to his first Nationwide victory of the season. He also repeated as the 2008 Milwaukee race winner.

"It seems like almost every week, we're getting faster and faster," Edwards said. "It's really cool to get that first win. Hopefully, it kicks off the rest of the season like it did last year."

Edwards' 2008 win at Milwaukee kicked off an impressive second-half run where he won seven of the final 19 races. Can he do it again this season?

"We could go win every race," Edwards continued. "That's how we try to approach them. As good as last season ended, it didn't get good until a year ago tonight. All my guys are aware of that, I was aware of that. People were mentioning that to me as I was getting in the car: 'Hey, do you remember last year?' I thought, 'Boy, if we could do that again and get it going, there's no reason we can't have the same success.'"

Top-10 leaders after 15 of 35: 1. Kyle Busch-2391, 2. Edwards- 2264, 3. Keselowski-2173, 4. Lef- fler-2127, 5. Logano-1860, 6. Bliss- 1745, 7. Gaughan-1744, 8. Allgaier- 1740, 9. Keller-1716, 10. S. Wallace 1693

Ron Hornaday Jr. dominated the rescheduled Camping World Truck Series race to win on his 51st birthday Saturday at the Milwaukee Mile.

Top-10 leaders after 10 of 25: 1. Hornaday-1518, 2. Crafton- 1482, 3. Bodine-1430, 4. Skinner- 1429, 5. Starr-1317, 6. Malsam- 1303, 7. Scott-1293, 8. Cook-1291, 9. Crawford-1267, 10. Setzer-1261

Have the days of the road course specialist in NASCAR come and gone?

During each of the two yearly NASCAR road course races, several teams enlist the services of so-called "road course racers." But just how effective are these drivers? In recent years no "specialist" has won a NASCAR event. Each year, NASCAR regulars fare much better than the outside hired guns.

Jeff Gordon leads the list of NASCAR's all-time NASCAR Sprint Cup winners on road courses with nine victories - four at Watkins Glen International and five at Infineon Raceway.

Tony Stewart is tied with four other drivers - all oval track aces - at second with six triumphs. Richard Petty, Bobby Allison, Ricky Rudd and Rusty Wallace also have five road- course triumphs.

In the 1960s, Formula One driver Dan Gurney had five victories at the old Riverside (California) track, but the last Cup non-regular to win in the series was Mark Donohue, also at Riverside in 1973.

In recent years, many drivers with road-racing roots have turned their attention to full-time NASCAR racing with good results.

Juan Pablo Montoya and Scott Speed raced in Formula One. Robby Gordon and AJ Allmendinger were winners in Champ Car, while Max Papis (No. 13 GEICO Toyota) was a Grand- Am Rolex Series champion.

Veteran road-racers Boris Said, Ron Fellows, Max Papis, and Patrick Carpentier were among the hired guns that qualified for Sunday's ToyotaSave- Mart 350.

Carpentier's 11th-place finish was the best at Infineon of the four drivers.

Weekend Racing: The Cup and Nationwide teams will be at the 1.058-mile New Hampshire Speedway, while the Camping World Trucks travel to the .75- mile Memphis Motorsports Park.

Sat., June 27, Nationwide Series World RV Rental 200, race 16 of 35; starting time: 2:30 p.m. (EDT); TV: ESPN2.

Sat., June 27, Camping World Series O'Reilly 200, race 11 of 25; starting time: 5:30 p.m.; TV: Speed Channel.

Sun., June 28, Sprint Cup Lenox Industrial Tools 300, race 17 of 36; starting time: 12:30 p.m. (EDT); TV: TNT.

Racing trivia question: Who is the driver of the Sprint Cup No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet?

Last week's question: Where is Joey Logano's home town? Answer. He currently lives in North Carolina, but was born in Middletown, Conn.

You may contact the Racing Reporter at: hodgesnews@ earthlink.net.

Return to top