With his victory in Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 500, Joe Gibbs Racing driver Matt Kenseth earned his third win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in his third race for JGR – he also became just the third driver to give himself an on-track birthday present – the checkered flag.
Kenseth, driving the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry after 13 seasons in Roush-Fenway Racing Fords, held off the late-race charge from the No. 5 of Kasey Kahne to join Cale Yarborough and another JGR driver, Kyle Busch, as the only drivers to win Cup Series races on their birthday; Kenseth turned 41 on Sunday.
“I’m not a goal person, but my goal was to win and win early,” said Kenseth post-race on NASCAR.com. “Nobody put any pressure on me except for myself, but I also know that Coach (Joe Gibbs) hired me to come here and climb in the car and win races. You certainly want to do that – you don’t want to disappoint people…It’s still only week three, but I feel like this is the beginning.”
Brad Keselowski finished third, followed by Busch and last week’s winner at Phoenix, Carl Edwards. Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick and Paul Menard rounded out the top 10.
“Yeah, I want to win,” said Keselowski, who also has two fourth-place finishes at Daytona and Phoenix this season. “It’s a different perspective, because I'm not happy with top fives – I want to win. The last three weeks, really the last two weeks – and I'm sure when I get home tonight I'm going to go home and throw around some pillows and punch some things – because we've had a shot at winning all three races and come up short, whether it's circumstances or bad luck or, today, just a little bit of execution."
Johnson continued to lead the points standings, five points ahead of Keselowski and 10 points ahead of Earnhardt Jr.
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