Matt Kenseth had a memorable 41st birthday last year, holding off a late charge by Kasey Kahne to win the Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Only Las Vegan Kyle Busch in 2009 and Cale Yarborough, who did it twice, won NASCAR Sprint Cup races on their birthdays.
That also was Kenseth’s third Cup victory at LVMS. His previous wins occurred in 2003 and 2004.
To get this one, he and his team gambled by using a pit stop with 41 laps remaining to refuel only while most others took two tires. That strategy came into question when Kahne appeared ready to overtake Kenseth, but he held on for the victory.
“I thought we were going to lose it,” Kenseth said. “I was getting tight, and especially as we caught them lapped, I didn’t think I was going to hold (Kahne) off. It’s good that we had all this great power from (Toyota Racing Development) — I don’t think we could have held him off.”
In the Sam’s Town 300, Sam Hornish Jr. held off Busch to win the Nationwide Series race. That ended a 36-race skid for Hornish.
“I didn’t really even realize it was the Sam’s Town 300 until this morning at the driver’s meeting,” he said. “I said, ‘That’s a pretty good one for me to win. I already have my name on the trophy.’ ”