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Kahne Wins Shootout With Menard

September 3, 2006

FONTANA, Calif. (AP) _ Kasey Kahne outdueled Paul Menard in an exciting NASCAR Busch Series shootout Saturday night that ended with Kahne in California Speedway’s Victory Lane and Menard coasting across the finish line out of fuel.

Kahne and Menard both topped off their gas tanks during the last caution period of the Ameriquest 300, with 52 of the 150 laps to go on the two-mile oval.

That dropped both of them out of the top 20, but the drivers ahead of them all had to pit for gas before the end and that left Nextel Cup star Kahne and Busch Series regular Menard to fight it out at the end.

The top two swapped the lead several times in the final 10 laps, with Kahne moving on top for the final time on lap 148. It looked like Menard was ready to make another run at the leader on the final lap when he suddenly slowed on the backstretch, out of fuel.

``It was a great battle,″ said Kahne, who wound up with enough gas left to do some post-victory burnouts for the fans. ``We were both saving fuel and both trying to make it to the end, save fuel and race each other. But the bottom line is to make it to the finish.″

Runaway series leader Kevin Harvick also stretched his last tank of gas and wound up second despite an ill-handling car that caused him trouble throughout the race, Mark Martin, who dominated much of the race before a late gas stop knocked him out of the lead, came back to finish third, just ahead of the coasting Menard.

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