Austin Dillon stormed to his first Nationwide victory in his 26th series start after starting on the pole at Kentucky Speedway Friday night. The No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet led 192 of the 200 laps, the most ever by a Nationwide race winner at the 1.5-mile track.
As the rookie crossed the finish line, his car owner and grandfather Richard Childress said over the radio, “Dale would have been proud of that.” The No. 3 is famous as the car number of the late Dale Earnhardt up until his tragic death at Daytona International Speedwayin 2001.
Dillon had no pressure from the field in his dominant drive to victory lane, with a 9.828 second lead over second place finisher Kurt Busch. Kevin Harvick, Michael Annett, and Justin Allgaier completed the top-5.
Rounding out the top 10 were Sam Hornish Jr., Brad Keselowski, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Elliott Sadler and James Buescher, who won the Truck Series race on Thursday night. Keselowski won the Nationwide event a year ago in Kentucky.
On Lap 106, Dillon put his teammate Sadler, the points leader coming into the race, one lap down, although Sadler eventually got his lap back and finished as the second-to-last car on the lead lap.
With the victory, Dillon was able to take over the points lead with a two-point margin over Sadler. Reigning Nationwide champ Ricky Stenhouse Jr. remains third in points after recovering from problems on pit road to finish eighth, with 33 points separating him from the leader.
Danica Patrick finished in 12th position, a solid run which moved her up one position in the standings to ninth.
Nationwide Standings – Race 15 of 33
1) Austin Dillon R
2) Elliott Sadler (-2)
3) Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (-23)
4) Sam Hornish Jr. (-33)
5) Justin Allgaier (-73)
6) Cole Whitt R (-82)
7) Michael Annett (-99)
8) Mike Bliss (-163)
9) Danica Patrick (-185)
10) Brian Scott (-201)