Matt Kenseth won on his 41st birthday, barely holding off Kasey Kahne of Enumclaw to take a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
LAS VEGAS — Matt Kenseth won on his 41st birthday for his new Joe Gibbs Racing team Sunday, barely holding off Kasey Kahne of Enumclaw for his third victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Kahne led a race-high 114 laps but finished 0.594 seconds behind Kenseth in the Kobalt Tools 400, a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event.
A frustrated Kahne told the NASCAR Wire Service, “I just felt like I could have got there, the way the car handled throughout the race and how I could turn down in the center of the corner and carry a ton of speed doing it.”
Kenseth earned his 25th career victory at NASCAR’s highest level. It was his third start in the JGR Toyota after leaving Roush Fenway Racing in the offseason. He took the lead from Kahne out of a late restart and fended off Kahne’s Chevrolet over the final laps, adding another trophy to his Las Vegas prizes from 2003 and 2004.
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“I was real nervous all day,” Kenseth said. “(Kahne) had the best car. I told (crew chief) Jason (Ratcliff) with about 12 to go that I was sorry we were going to lose. We were just too tight. … We didn’t have the fastest car there, but we had it where we needed it to be.”
Kahne took right-side tires on Lap 226 of the 267-lap race; meanwhile, Kenseth opted for track position and took fuel only on the pit stop.
“I was trying to brake in and mess with anything that I could, lift early, lift late, try it all and just couldn’t find a way past him,” Kahne said. “He just did a really good job of keeping his momentum up, keeping his speed. He was cutting across me off the corner. He just put up a great battle and pulled it off on old tires.”
Kenseth has won at least one race in 11 of his 14 full seasons in the Sprint Cup series, but the first 13 were in Fords with Roush Fenway.
Pole-sitter Brad Keselowski, the defending series champion, finished third.
Greg Biffle of Vancouver, Wash., was 17th of 43.