Richard Petty Motorsports has made news this season for all the wrong reasons. Caught in the financial crunch of Chrysler's bankruptcy, the team had a recent round of layoffs and companywide salary reductions.

Star driver Kasey Kahne has been openly unhappy with RPM's slow development of an improved Dodge motor, and the organization can't shake whispers about its long-term stability.

A win can cure most of those ills.

Kahne returned team co-owner Richard Petty to Victory Lane for the first time in more than a decade Sunday with a much-needed win — on a road course, of all places — at Infineon Raceway.

It snapped a 37-race winless streak for Kahne, who last won at Pocono a year ago, and the first win for a Petty-owned car since John Andretti's victory at Martinsville in April 1999.

"I feel just as good as (Kahne) does," The King, clad in his trademark cowboy hat and sunglasses, said before he sipped on a congratulatory glass of red wine. "It's great, man. It's great."

Petty's race team teetered on the verge of collapse at the end of last season and needed a January merger with Gillett-Evernham Motorsports to secure the storied NASCAR team. Rebranded as Richard Petty Motorsports, the four-car organization began the season with a strong showing at the Daytona 500.

But it's been a rough ride, since.

Team manufacturer Chrysler is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and funding to RPM has slowed to a crawl as Dodge restructures. The team laid off nine employees earlier this month while slashing salaries across the board, leading to quiet questions the last few weeks about a perceived financial instability.

Just Saturday, majority team owner George Gillett agreed to sell the NHL's Montreal Canadiens in a deal that should help him fight any solvency issues.

It's made for a frustrating season for Kahne, the star of the team, who at times this year has been vocal about RPM's slow progress. His criticism prompted team officials to push out a new Dodge engine, and the improved motor had given Kahne hope that there's reason for optimism.

Now he has his first victory on a road course — a remedy for any disgruntled driver.

"To me, we started the season a little bit behind," Kahne said. "But it gave the guys that work at Richard Petty Motorsports a chance to build some better race cars, some better engines and work on the setups. It's paid off. Today was a bonus, and it shows that we do have a lot of smart, really good people who work hard."

Crew chief Kenny Francis said the business issues have been unsettling, even as the No. 9 team began to turn a corner and put together consistent runs. Kahne has collected three top-10s and his first win of the season in the past five races.

"It's definitely tough times right now economically, everybody is feeling the pinch," Francis said. "What we've tried to do is not let it distract us. It's been difficult, really, to not let that distract you."

Using humor, Petty tried to put his people at ease.

"From the financial end, we'll definitely be there next week," he joked. "We've got enough money to do that."

The victory moved Kahne to 13th in the standings, one spot shy of qualifying for the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. He's just three points outside the top 12 in what's shaping up to be an intense 10-week push to qualify for the title hunt.

Stewart, an accomplished road racer, finished second and was followed by Marcos Ambrose, who blew a motor in Saturday's practice that forced him to start at the back of the field and forfeit his third-place qualifying position.