BUSCH: Kahne wins first career race

Kasey Kahne's first career win may have been overshadowed by the glare of Brian Vickers championship trophy, but Kahne didn't seem to mind. As media and television focused on the race between Vickers and David Green for the title; Kahne coasted uncontested for the races final 29 laps right into victory lane.

Kasey Kahne.
Photo by Autostock.
"Hey, it feels good," said Kahne when asked if he was disappointed that the media spotlight shined a little less brightly on him today. "Vickers and that team deserve it. It's a great day for us. We ended the season on a good note and hopefully that will give us a lot of momentum going into next season."

The break of the race for Kahne came with 36 laps to go, as he ran third. First, leader Jamie McMurray was plagued with a left right rear tire, forcing him off the lead lap to make a green flag pit stop.

As McMurray dropped, Kenseth inherited the lead with Kahne behind him. A few laps later Kenseth began to drop back also with tire problems. Kahne got the lead as Kenseth dipped to pit road, and was never challenged for the victory.

"I was pretty happy about it," said Kahne on what he thought when Kenseth fell out. "When Matt (Kenseth) slowed up there in one and two, it was sort of nice to be out in the open and we were way faster when we got out front."

Kahne's first career win comes in his 54th start. Previous to today, his best finish was a second place at Michigan.

Martin Truex, Jr. driving the Dale Earnhardt, Jr./Teresa Earnhardt owned Chance2 Motorsports No. 8 Chevy earned second.

"This is like a win for us," said Truex. "It was a good day for us but we weren't quite good enough on those short runs."

Bobby Hamilton, Jr. was third, garnering his 22nd top ten result of the season.

"We did exactly what we needed to do," said Hamilton. "We got another top five. Like I said before, our whole realistic goal was to get fourth and we did that.we'll take fourth and it's something to build on and we'll get them next year."

Jason Leffler and Ashton Lewis, Jr. round out the top five.

Brian Vickers 11th place finish secured his first series title; he becomes the youngest champion in the history of the Busch series. David Green, Ron Hornaday, Bobby Hamilton, Jr. and Jason Keller round out the top five in series standings.

Notably, David Stremme was named Busch series Rookie of the Year. He finishes the year with three top-fives and seven top-tens in 18 starts.

"That's awesome," said Stremme who will drive the No. 1 Dodge full time in 2004. "It's a major accomplishment and builds a lot of momentum for next year. Once we realized it was within reach, then we said 'let's go for this goal'. Now we can go for some goals next season."