When Austin Dillon decided he was ready to claim his first-career win in NASCAR Nationwide Series competition, he didn’t do it quietly. Instead, he pretty much spanked the field in the Feed the Children 300 at Kentucky Speedway on Friday night, leading 192 laps in the 200-lap event.
“That was domination, man,” Dillon said in victory lane. “That was awesome.”
Domination was right. In addition to leading almost the entire race, by the time the white flag waved to signal the final lap, Dillon had driven out to a lead of 9.6 seconds over his closest pursuer, Kurt Busch.
Sure, Busch suffered an engine issue in the closing laps, dropping a cylinder, but even before the problem, Busch’s No. 54 just didn’t have what it needed to catch the No. 3 of Dillon.
“We had it dialed in at the end, but we were still in a different zip code,” Busch said after the race.
The only two times in the race someone other than Dillon led were during two cycles of green flag pit stops, first around lap 82 and then again when Dillon gave up the lead for a few laps to head down pit road on lap 141.
The caution came out only twice during the race — on lap 25 and again on lap 143.
Dillon got back to the lead to hold the top spot for good on the restart following the lap 153 caution. Busch made his way up to second with 50 laps to go to hold the runner-up spot the rest of the way.
Kevin Harvick was third, Michael Annett fourth, and Justin Allgaier rounded out the top-five. Only three other cars finished on the lead lap, Sam Hornish Jr., Brad Keselowski and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
After finishing ninth, the first driver a lap down, Elliott Sadler lost his points lead to Dillon. Dillon left Kentucky with a two-point lead over Sadler. Stenhouse remained in third, 23 points back.
***** Post-race update: Dillon’s No. 3 car failed post-race inspection, as the car didn’t not meet minimum height requirments. Penalties, which may include points deductions and or fines are expected to be announced next week.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR
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