Dillon dominates Nationwide in Kent.

Associated Press  |  Last updated June 29, 2012

DOVER, DE - MAY 14: Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Bass Pro Shops/Trackers Chevrolet, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Dover 200 at Dover International Speedway on May 14, 2010 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Pole-sitter Austin Dillon, driving the legendary No. 3 car, led most of the final 113 laps to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Kentucky Speedway on Friday night. The No. 3, of course, was driven to fame by Dale Earnhardt before his death on the track at the 2001 Daytona 500. Richard Childress was the team owner for Earnhardt, and is also the grandfather and team owner for Dillon. As Dillon was clinching the win, his grandfather said over the radio, ''Dale would have been proud of that.'' It was the first Nationwide victory for Dillon, a rookie who captured the Truck Series title a year ago. Dillon, who led for 192 of the 200 laps, had asked to drive the No. 3 car, which is appearing in competition for the first time since Earnhardt's death. The 22-year-old native of Lewisville, N.C., also took over the series lead with the victory. He came into the night just a point back of leader Elliott Sadler after seven top-five finishes: five fifths and two fourths. Sprint Cup driver Kurt Busch was a distant second, 9.828 seconds back. Third was another Cup driver and the No. 2 qualifier, Kevin Harvick, followed by Michael Annett and Justin Allgaier. ''Austin Dillon, he was just in his own zip code,'' Busch said. Harvick, who took over Earnhardt's Sprint Cup ride after Earnhardt's death, said he admired what he had seen out of the young Dillon. ''I'm proud to see Austin and those guys get their first win,'' he said. ''He works hard to make himself better and he's a good kid.'' Asked what he thought of seeing the No. 3 car returning to victory lane, Harvick said, ''I'm sure it's important to Richard and his family. Richard started with the 3. He and Dale had a lot of success with the 3. So I'm sure it's important to them.'' The race was contested in ideal conditions after gusting winds earlier delayed qualifying for the Cup Series. Rounding out the top 10 were Sam Hornish Jr., Brad Keselowski, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Sadler and James Buescher, who won the Truck Series race on Thursday night. Keselowski won the Nationwide event a year ago in Kentucky. ''I envy his first win,'' said Danica Patrick, who finished 12th. The series returns to Kentucky in September for the Kentucky 300.
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