Matt Kenseth won last year’s Las Vegas event and has three wins overall at the track – second in the series behind Jimmie Johnson’s four Vegas triumphs. It’s safe to say another win would be encouraging for Kenseth. Two of his Vegas wins have come in his two best seasons – his 2003 championship-winning year and last year’s championship runner-up result. (His other Vegas victory came in 2004.)
Las Vegas is a track that illustrates that Kenseth is indeed all about winning races; for him, the new Chase qualifying format is made-to-order. During his 2003 championship season he simply got a bad rap, as he had only one victory and won the title largely on the strength of 22 top 10s. When the Chase was implemented the next season, critics cited Kenseth as the catalyst for the new format even though, in 2002, he had a series-high five victories.
Well, since 2003, Kenseth has won 24 times in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series – including last year’s series-leading seven wins – and another 14 times in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Along the way, he has won the Daytona 500 twice. That’s hard-charging by any measurement.