SONOMA, Calif. — Kasey Kahne survived four double-file restarts against Tony Stewart, including a green/white/checkered one, to win Sunday’s Toyota SaveMart 350 at Infineon Raceway.The win was the 10th 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 its drivers (Kahne, AJ Allmendinger and Elliott Sadler) finished in the top 10.
“I’m as happy as he (Kahne) is,” said Petty. ‘This is our first win and it’s just great.”
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.
“We just never gave up,” said Ambrose. “When you’re up there in that rare air with those kinds of drivers you don’t want to slip up. We had a heap of fun, and I just hope this gives me some job security.”
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-2,364, 2. J. Gordon-2,280, 3. Johnson-2,207, 4. Kurt Busch-2,084, 5. Edwards-2,051, 6. Newman-2,046, 7. Hamlin-2,009, 8. Biffle-1,992, 9. Kyle Busch-1,962, 10. Kenseth-1,957, 11. Martin-1,926, 12. Montoya-1,917.