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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)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Dow Chevrolet, spins out after an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 1, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, lead the field to the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 1, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmie John`s/Budweiser Chevrolet, suffers a mechanical issue during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 28, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #88 Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Hisense 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 28, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #88 Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Hisense 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 28, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
David Ragan, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, drives in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 27, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmie John`s/Budweiser Chevrolet, prepares to drive during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 27, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS qualifies in second position Friday, February 27, 2015 for a front row position start in Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Gene Stefanyshyn, NASCAR Vice President of Innovation and Racing Development, speaks to members of the media after a testing session at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 26, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/NASCAR via Getty Images)
David Ragan, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, stands in the garage during a testing session at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 26, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Clint Bowyer drives the #15 5-Hour Energy Toyota during a testing session at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 26, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS races to a third place finish with Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS who finishes in fifth place in the Daytona 500 Sunday, February 22, 2015 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by HHP/Alan Marler for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS pulls into his pit on his way to a second place finish in the Daytona 500 Sunday, February 22, 2015 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, and Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Percision Chevrolet, lead the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, and Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota, race three-wide during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Smoke pours from the #2 Miller Lite Ford, driven by Brad Keselowski, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

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