SPARTA - Austin Dillon decimated a 43-driver NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) Feed The Children 300 field Friday night at Kentucky Speedway by leading a series track record 192 of 200 race laps en route to seizing his first series victory in his No. 3 Richard Childress Racing (RCR) car.
Dillon became the seventh NNS driver to earn a victory in a series track debut and set a new series track record for largest margin of victory when he crossed the finish line 9.828 seconds ahead of Kurt Busch in the No. 54 Kyle Busch Motorsports machine.
The 25-year-old Dillon started from the pole position and set the tone for his untouchable performance by leading the opening 81 laps. The No. 3 cycled out of the lead only twice during pit stops and closed out the stellar run by holding point for the closing 56 circuits.
“I was actually loose the whole race. I just kept getting looser and looser. I was just really driving as straight as I could trying not to slit the tires. I kind of back-steered the whole race, but that last adjustment he (Crew Chief Danny Stockman Jr.) made got me tight enough to fire off really good. We knew Kurt (Busch) was good, but our car was just stronger tonight,” said Dillon, who snared his eighth top-five finish of the season and a two-point lead in the championship standings over his teammate Elliott Sadler.
Kurt Busch earned his first Kentucky Speedway NNS top-five finish in his first series start at the track.
He owns a combined six top-five and 10 top-10 series finishes this season.
“I thought it was a great battle for us tonight. We started out really loose, but (Crew Chief) Mike Beam and his experience and leadership brought us to the front to contend for the lead. That being said, Dillon was in another zip code. Congratulations to him, Richard Childress and his team on Dillon’s first Nationwide win.
“The track was really hot today for qualifying and then really cooled off for the race. We knew that the track was going to get loose but we still were just a little behind on the setup. It is my first Nationwide race here at Kentucky. To come home with a runner-up finish is something that the team can be proud of and build on,” Busch said.
Kevin Harvick took third in the No. 33 Kevin Harvick, Inc., car, Michael Annett claimed fourth in the No. 43 Turner Motorsports car and Justin Allgaier rounded out the race top five in the No. 31 Turner Motorsports car.