Matt Kenseth celebrated the occasion of turning 41 by holding off Kasey Kahne to win his first NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season Sunday, the Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The win was also marked the first for Kenseth since making the move to Joe Gibbs Racing at the end of the last season.
Kahne looked to be the car to beat early on. The Hendrick Motorsports driver took the lead on lap 10 after starting fourth. He would lose then regain the lead during green flag pit stops, but still held the lead for 59 of the first 93 circuits. Kahne’s biggest challenge early on came from teammate Jimmie Johnson who has gone to victory lane four times at Vegas. Johnson took the lead on lap 73 with Kahne close behind.
Kahne would slip past Johnson on lap 135, stretching the advantage to nearly three seconds before Johnson was able to catch him on lap 167. As the two vied for the lead, Kyle Busch, who overcame an earlier pit road speeding penalty, took the lead for a brief time until Kahne dispensed with Johnson and passed Busch on lap 178.
Denny Hamlin elected to stay out during the third of the races five cautions but lost the point on lap 196 when Kyle Busch executed a wild move on the bottom lane of the frontstretch and went to the front. Kahne showing the dominance of his Chevy however retook the lead from Busch on lap 207. MORE>>>