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Kahne holds off Stewart at Infineon

How strange was it for Kasey Kahne to win a road-course race?

The driver of the #9 Richard Petty Motorsports Dodge had to ask his crew chief for directions to victory lane after taking the chequered flag in a green-white-chequered finish in Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway.

Kahne held off road-course ace Tony Stewart through a succession of four late-race double-file restarts, the final time after Scott Speed's spin on lap 108 caused the seventh caution of the day. After starting from the rear because of an engine change, Marcos Ambrose chased the top two finishers to the line to claim third place, matching the best result of his Sprint Cup Series career.

“Awesome — not too bad for a dirt-tracker from Washington!” Kenny Francis, Kahne's crew chief, radioed after his driver crossed the stripe on lap 113, three laps beyond the scheduled distance at the 1.99-mile road course.

“Unreal,” replied Kahne, who gave owner Richard Petty his first victory since John Andretti in 1999. “Gosh, we had to hold him (Stewart) off for a while. We won a road-course race! Oh, my God, I can't believe this.”

Jimmie Johnson recovered from a pit-road speeding penalty to finish fourth. Denny Hamlin, who led 33 laps — second only to Kahne's 37 — came home fifth. Juan Pablo Montoya, AJ Allmendinger, Clint Bowyer, Jeff Gordon and Elliott Sadler completed the top ten.

The victory was Kahne's first of the season and the tenth of his NASCAR Sprint Cup career. Before Sunday's race, his highest finish on a road course was 14th at Watkins Glen.

“It was crazy,” Kahne said, after following Francis' directions to victory lane. “Stewart's as good as they get out there, and I had to restart beside him about four times. Cautions kept coming out, and we were having to hold him off. He was giving me tons of room, which is normal Stewart. The guy's an awesome racer.”

After Kahne took the lead from Speed on a restart on lap 80, he stayed out front the rest of the way. Stewart's attempts to pressure Kahne into a mistake failed to produce the desired result.

“The second-to-last run there (when Stewart was leading Kahne), we were looking in our mirror and we were fast, but Kasey was matching us lap for lap,” Stewart said. “Then when he came out in front of us after that last set of pit stops, I was like, 'Oh, we might be in trouble here.'




Related Pictures

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Kasey Kahne [Pic credit: Getty for NASCAR]
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS, qualifies for second position Saturday, May 2, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama. Kahne is sixth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Hendrick Motorsports teammate and Pole winner Jeff Gordon, driver of the #5 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS will join him on the front row Sunday. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, wins the Pole position Saturday, May 2, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama. Gordon is tenth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS will join him on the front row Sunday. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, wins the Pole position Saturday, May 2, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama. Gordon is tenth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS will join him on the front row Sunday. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 2, 2015 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS, finishes in sixth place and Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 3M Chevrolet SS, finishes in third place Sunday, April 19, 2015 in the rain delayed NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick (Stewart-Haas Racing) and David Ragan (Joe Gibbs Racing) spin out during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 17, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet SS, qualifies for eighth position Friday, April 17, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Kahne is fifth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, finishes in ninth place racing with Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmer`s Insurance Chevrolet SS who finishes in eleventh place Sunday, March 29, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
A view of a decal placed on the #14 Code 3 Associates / Mobil 1 Chevrolet, driven by Tony Stewart (not pictured), during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 27, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Paul Menard, driver of the #27 FVP/Menards Chevrolet SS finishes in fourth place and Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS finishes in fourteenth place Sunday, March 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Time Warner Cable Chevrolet SS qualifies for third position Friday, March 6, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and team owner Tony Stewart celebrate winning in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1 Chevrolet, drives during Pinnacle Propane Qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on October 31, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet, is spun by Brian Vickers, driver of the #55 Aaron`s Dream Machine Toyota, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Goody`s Headache Relief Shot 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 26, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Danica Patrick alongside the #10 GoDaddy Breast Cancer Awareness Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing on pit road at Talladega Superspeedway. (Photo Credit: NASCAR via Getty Images)
Danica Patrick driving the #10 GoDaddy Breast Cancer Awareness Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing. (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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