Qualifying for the third race in the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup series was rained out. By NASCAR rule, in the first three races of a new season, when qualifying cannot happen, the starting grid is set by the final point standings of the previous year.
From the drop of the green flag, it became quickly obvious that Kasey Kahne would be the car to beat in the Kobalt Tools 400. While seven other drivers led the race at times, it was Kasey who led a race high 114 laps at Las Motor Speedway. The Gen-6 cars were able to race side-by-side throughout the race providing some exciting moments of two, three and even four wide racing.
In the final laps of the race, Matt Kenseth and his crew chief decided to gamble on track position over new tires when most everybody else came to pit road for fuel and at least two tires. The #20 Dollar General Toyota team felt that even with older tires, Matt could hold off the other cars from out front. Since the race was in Las Vegas, taking the gamble to win big is what it is all about, right?
Matt's gamble paid off as he was able to hold off a hrad charging Kasey Kahne to lead the final 26 laps and capture his first win of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup series. Matt's win was also his first win for his new racing team of Joe Gibbs Racing. Matt left Roush Fenway Racing, the only team he had raced for, after last season to join Joe Gibbs Racing.
Matt joined just two other drivers to have won a NASCAR Sprint Cup series race on their birthday by winning the Kobalt Tools 400 on his 41st birthday. Only Cale Yarborough and Kyle Busch have ever won a race in the top NASCAR series on their birthday before Matt's win Sunday.
Kasey Kahne was able to grab second place Sunday in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race with Brad Keselowski following behind for third place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards rounded out the top five respectively. See the complete results in the Kobalt Tools 400 here.
Jimmie Johnson left Las Vegas with the lead in the series point standings for the third week. Brad Keselowski moves out of a tie for second in points to hold the spot alone as Dale Earnhardt Jr. slips back to third. Denny Hamlin held on to fourth place in the points while Carl Edwards moved up six spots to complete the top five. See the complete NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings here.
The sides and bumpers of the Gen-6 cars next when the NASCAR Sprint Cup series goes short trackin' at Bristol Motor Speedway. The top drivers in NASCAR will be looking for a little luck on St. Patrick's Day in the Food City 500 this coming Sunday, March 17th.
Feature photo credit: courtesy of NASCARmedia.com/283653Nick Laham/Getty Images