In the midst of a sea of celebrities like California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kelly Clarkson, Jason Lee, Marcia Cross, Mya and Jim Belushi, the lights were shinning on West Coast native Kasey Kahne when he swept the Labor Day NASCAR weekend events by capturing his first Auto Club Speedway win in the SONY HD 500.
"California is a great place to win," said Kahne, driver of the No. 9 Dodge. "California is a tough place to win. "We had a great crowd here tonight. It's pretty awesome to win on the West Coast two nights in a row. I'm really proud of these guys... We gained the most points we could possibly get on a weekend."
Kahne led the most laps of any driver with 130 and moved past Raybestos Rookie contender, and then race leader, Reed Sorenson with one lap to go after the No. 41 Target Dodge ran out of gas heading into the final lap. Kahne overcame a penalty on lap 157 when he was caught entering pit lane to fast and was sent to the tail end of the longest line.
"I didn't think I sped," said the Evernham Motorsports driver. "I thought I was doing the same thing I'd done every lap, but must have been barely over."
Kahne secured the win in both the Busch Series Ameriquest 300 and the NEXTEL Cup Series SONY HD 500, the first driver to pull off the top two division sweep at Auto Club Speedway in the same weekend.
Kahne also set the record for the fastest average race speed by a driver in the SONY HD 500 at 144.462 mph, breaking the previous record of 136.356 mph set by Kyle Busch last year.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., finished second and led two times for six laps during the race. Clint Bowyer finished third.
Carl Edwards saw his 2006 Chase for the NEXTEL Cup chances extinguished despite a fourth place finish. Jeff Gordon finished fifth and kept his Chase hopes alive. Rookie Denny Hamlin had a sixth place run and was followed by Matt Kenseth, who finished seventh. Defending winner Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart and Dale Jarrett finished eighth through 10th, respectively.
Following the SONY HD 500, Kenseth takes control of the points lead as the series heads to the final event in the Race for the Chase. Jimmie Johnson now trails him by nine points heading into the last race of the season. Kevin Harvick maintains his third spot, while Gordon moves into the fourth spot. Busch drops into the fifth place position while Earnhardt Jr., slides up three spots into the sixth position. Hamlin drops down a spot into seventh, Stewart maintained eighth, Mark Martin climbs up one to ninth and Jeff Burton falls to the tenth and final spot in the top-10. Kahne sits just outside the Chase in 11th, with only 30 points behind 10th.
Auto Club Speedway finishes its 10th season of operation with the waiving of the checkered flag for the SONY HD 500. February will mark the return of America's fastest growing spectator sport when the West Coast Premiere of NASCAR returns to Auto Club Speedway for the Auto Club 500 on February 25, 2007. The Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series also return to Auto Club Speedway for the tripleheader NASCAR weekend. Season tickets are available now by calling 800-944-RACE  or online at www.autoclubspeedway.com.