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Nationwide: First win for Austin Dillon

Series rookie Austin Dillon scored his first win in the NASCAR Nationwide championship with a totally dominant display in the Friday night race at Kentucky Speedway.
22-year-old series rookie Austin Dillon had already done more than enough on Friday to have been plenty pleased with his weekend's work, by claiming his second series pole position ahead of the Feed the Children 300.

But that proved to be nothing compared to the peerless performance he put in during the evening race itself under the floodlights of Kentucky Speedway, which saw him immediately pull away from a duelling Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski to lead all but eight of the 200 laps of the race - the most by any race winner at Kentucky - and easily clinch his first victory in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

With only two cautions all evening, the only opportunities that others had to lead during the race were briefly during pit stop rotations. Otherwise Dillon had the run of the place and duly led the first 81 laps straight, then led for another 55 laps in the middle of the race, before returning to lead for all of the last 56 laps all the way to the chequered flag, by which time he had a huge lead of almost 10s over the rest of the field.

The two cautions fell on lap 26 and 143. The first was for a spin by Jamie Mosley in turn 4, while the second was for debris on the frontstretch caused by Mike Wallace slapping the wall. The final caution enabled a mass wave-around that at least meant the race finished with eight drivers including Dillon himself on the lead lap, otherwise this could really have been a one-man show.

Not that the race seemed all that easy and comfortable for Dillon himself, who complained that in fact "I was loose the whole race," which had made the evening very hard work.

"I'd just get looser and looser, and I was really driving as straight as I could not to slip the tires. I just kind of back-steered the whole race," he said, giving credit to crew chief Danny Stockman for a final adjustment that tightened him up in the corners and allowed him to drive away from Kurt Busch in the final stint.

"Austin Dillon, he was in his own zip code," conceded Busch afterwards. "I thought we could reel him in with 20 to go and put on a show for the fans here in Kentucky," he added of his efforts in the Kyle Busch Motorsports #54. "He was just too strong tonight ... He just had that car dialled in. There was nothing that we could do."

Dillon's success puts the black #3 Chevy back in victory lane where it had been such a familiar sight in the days when Dale Earnhardt drove for car owner Richard Childress, and appropriately enough Childress himself was clearly emotional after the race.

"Dale would have been proud," Childress said of his own grandson Austin's win, after surviving an exuberant congratulations from former F1, Champ Car and Le Mans driver Max Papis who has been working for the team as a coach for Dillon this season as well as part-time driver.




Related Pictures

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Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #33 Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevrolet, lead the field past the green flag to start the NASCAR Nationwide Series Feed The Children 300 at Kentucky Speedway on June 29, 2012, in Sparta, Ky. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Feed The Children 300 at Kentucky Speedway on June 29, 2012, in Sparta, Ky. (Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, races to win Sunday, August 17, 2014 in the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy Johns Chevrolet SS finished second. This was Gordon`s third win of the season. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Chris Buescher, driver of the #60 Nationwide Children`s Hospital Ford Mustang Ford takes the chequered flag to win the Nationwide Children`s 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 16, 2014 in Lexington, Ohio.  (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Chris Buescher, drives the #60 Nationwide Children`s Hospital Ford Mustang Ford during the Nationwide Children`s 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 16, 2014 in Lexington, Ohio.  (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Chris Buescher, driver of the #60 Nationwide Children`s Hospital Ford Mustang Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the Nationwide Children`s Hospital 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 16, 2014 in Lexington, Ohio.  (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)
Chris Buescher, driver of the #60 Nationwide Children`s Hospital Ford Mustang Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the Nationwide Children`s Hospital 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 16, 2014 in Lexington, Ohio.  (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)
Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, leads the field at the start of the Nationwide Childrens`s Hospital 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 16, 2014 in Lexington, Ohio.  (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy Johns Chevrolet SS, qualified sixth Friday, August 15, 2014 for Sunday`s Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. Harvick is 8th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Marcos Ambrose, driver of the #09 Stanley Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International on August 9, 2014 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Marcos Ambrose, driver of the #09 Stanley Ford, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Nationwide Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International on August 9, 2014 in Watkins Glen, New York.  (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Marcos Ambrose, driver of the #09 Stanley Ford, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Nationwide Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International on August 9, 2014 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
The #28 Texas 28 Spirits Stage Dodge, driven by JJ Yeley, is seen after an on-track incident during the NASCAR Nationwide Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International on August 9, 2014 in Watkins Glen, New York.  (Photo Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Hertz Ford, and Joey Logano, driver of the #12 Snap-On Ford, lead the field to the green flag for the running of the NASCAR Nationwide Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International on August 9, 2014 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, celebrates with a burn out after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series U.S. Cellular 250 Presented by New Holland at Iowa Speedway on August 2, 2014 in Newton, Iowa.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Trevor Bayne, driver of the #6 AdvoCare Ford, leads the field during the start of the Nationwide Series U.S. Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway on August 2, 2014 in Newton, Iowa (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Nationwide Series U.S. Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway on August 2, 2014 in Newton, Iowa. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, wins the Nationwide Series U.S. Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway on August 2, 2014 in Newton, Iowa. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

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