Matt Kenseth makes history at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 10: Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 10, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 10:  Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 10, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 10: Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 10, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

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>>>

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.