Double Celebration for Kenseth at Las Vegas
Matt Kenseth had reason for a double celebration on Sunday as he took the checkered flag on his 41st birthday. Driving for Joe Gibbs racing, Kenseth managed to hold off Kasey Kahne to clinch his third win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway – his previous Las Vegas victories being in 2003 and 2004 – bringing his career victories to a total of twenty-five. Following Kasey Kahne’s second place, the top ten for the 2013 Kobalt Tools 400, in order, was Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick and Paul Menard.
The 400-mile race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was a defining event for the new Gen-6 car, as it was the first competitive race on an intermediate track. Most drivers appeared to be keen to see how the Gen-6 would perform on the 1.5-mile track. If any of the drivers had reservations about the new car’s performance, they kept it to themselves, with the notable exception of Denny Hamlin who was fined $25,000 by NASCAR for overstepping the boundaries in voicing his doubt in the Gen-6 after the race at Phoenix International Raceway, in which he came third after starting at the rear of the field. Hamlin is reportedly considering appealing the penalty.
Finishing if 4th place, Kyle Busch proved that it is definitely possible to pass in the Gen-6 as he twice moved his way up through the field, taking the lead after a restart with 102 laps to go. Kahne noted in a post-race interview that his car performed well throughout the race, saying that he drove hard on every single lap and commenting that it was a lot of fun.
Several drivers did report problems with their cars early on in the race, with Clint Bowyer and Tony Stewart both being effected in opening laps. Bowyer finished 27th with Stewart managing an 11th place finish. Having earned the privilege of pole position at Daytona two weeks ago, Danica Patrick appeared to have problems with her car from the beginning of the race and finished 33rd.