Penske Racing dominated Saturday night’s Kentucky 300 NASCAR Nationwide race at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. Sam Hornish Jr. led 65 of the first 100 laps before Ryan Blaney took over and led 96 laps in the second half of the 200-lap race. Blaney went on to claim his first-career series win in his 15th Nationwide start. He became the fourth driver to win this year in Penske’s No. 22 entry, joining Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and A.J. Allmendinger.
“That’s very cool,” Blaney said of the No. 22 team’s record of 10 wins with four drivers. “It just shows how good this team is.”
After leading a lot of laps in the first half of the race, Hornish finished fourth. He was running second to Blaney on a restart just inside the final 20 laps of the race. But soon after the restart, Hornish’s car got loose and he dropped back to seventh in the running order. After recovering, Hornish was able to get back up to fourth.
Once Blaney took over for the second half of the race, he did lose the lead temporarily to Elliott Sadler when Sadler took only two tires during a caution on lap 106 while everyone else took four. But Blaney got off pit road second to Sadler and retook the lead soon after the restart and led the rest of the way.
“It’s just awesome to be able to do this,” Blaney said. “I just wish my dad (Sprint Cup Series driver Dave Blaney) was here, but the rest of my family is here.”
The race was littered with nine cautions, with four of those coming out in the final 40 laps. Dillon and Hornish each challenged Blaney on restarts in the final stages of the race, but each time Blaney was able to hold them off.
“I tried to get through there as good as I could,” Dillon said of his inability to take the lead from Blaney. “His car was just really good. Everything was good tonight. There was just one car better than us.”
Austin Dillon finished second, Matt Crafton was third and Alex Bowman was fifth. Finishing sixth through 10th were Drew Herring, Brian Vickers, Jeb Burton, Cole Whitt and Michael Annett.
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR