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Nationwide: Dillon completes Kentucky sweep

Green flag pit stops were looming when the fifth caution of the afternoon came out on lap 87. Elliott Sadler had just put Taylor Maslem and Mike Wallace a lap down when he had to pull up the track to avoid a slow car entering pit lane: that forced Maslem to brake, and Wallace couldn't react in time and got into the back of the #19, sending Maslem spinning through the infield grass off turn 4.

That meant that the majority of the field got to pit under yellow. Exceptions to the rule were Justin Allgaier (who had pitted very early under green complaining of loose handling) and Danica Patrick, who had been suffering from spiking oil and water temperatures as the result of a totally clogged grill and needed to come in a few laps before the caution. Allgaier got the wave-around to get back onto the lead lap, but Patrick was still a lap down.

"The one thing that threw us off was the grill got covered," confirmed Danica after the race. "I felt like it was dipping in speed. We had to make a stop like 15 laps early. It's a bummer, I was hoping for a good day."

Dillon beat Sadler in the race off pit road to lead at the restart, but Sadler got the better restart on lap 93 to resume the lead again. Behind them, Sam Hornish yielded third place to Kurt Busch after just managing to survive a scary moment that could easily have ended in disaster, and Brian Scott ended up scraping the wall coming off turn 2 and dropped out of the top ten - but both Hornish and Scott were able to continue and no caution was required as the race passed the halfway point.

There was also no caution required when the #54 started to smoke heavily on lap 129, which forced the team to being Kurt Busch onto pit road and take the car behind the wall to the garage for a seized rear gear, the latest of a series of frustrating glitches for the fledgling Kyle Busch Motorsports Nationwide team in its maiden year of competition. Busch's retirement left Sadler still out on front with a one second lead over Dillon and then a five second gap back to Hornish, Cole Whitt and Drew Herring with only 13 cars now showing on the lead lap.

Just when the die was looking well and truly cast, Sadler was on the radio reporting to his pit crew that his steering was starting to lock up. Under the next round of green flag pit stops, Sadler came in on lap 146 and the team confirmed that the power steering was leaking fluid and failing as a result: there was nothing that could be done in any reasonable time and so he was told he would just have to tough it out for the remaining quarter of the race. Sadler could be seen beating the steering wheel with frustration as the realisation sank in that the win at least was slipping away from him.

"We just can't buy any luck," he said after the race. "We gave up some points today, six or seven points. We had a tyre [problem] last week [when I was] leading the race, and then leading the race this week and the power steering went out."

Dillon leapfrogged Sadler during this cycle of pit stops and was in front on lap 160 when Eric McClure went for a spin through the infield grass. Sadler was one of a very few number of cars to come back onto pit lane under the ensuing caution to take on new right side tyres in the hope that the fresh rubber would give him some small compensation for the problematic power steering. Coming in dropped him back to seventh place, and it was clear when the race went back under green that the effort of regaining those lost positions was agonisingly slow hard work with his steering in the state it was in.

With 20 laps to go, Dillon held a 1.5 second lead over Hornish who had seen off a push from Brendan Gaughan for second place; Drew Herring was holding on to fourth place ahead of Sadler, who had finally managed to pass Cole Whitt and Michael Annett. Further back, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. had managed to recover his way back up to 17th place with his damage limitation push, even though he was now three laps off the lead.

While Hornish tried one final push over the closing laps of the race to close down the gap to the leader, the situation did not change over the concluding laps and Dillon duly crossed the line over a second ahead of the #12 to claim the victory. Only ten cars finished on the lead lap by the finish.




Related Pictures

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Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Advocare Chevrolet, wins the NASCAR Nationwide Series Kentucky 300 at Kentucky Speedway on September 22, 2012 in Sparta, Kentucky. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Advocare Chevrolet, wins the NASCAR Nationwide Series Kentucky 300 at Kentucky Speedway on September 22, 2012 in Sparta, Kentucky. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, celebrates by kissing the bricks after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, races the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Time Warner Cable Chevrolet, leads during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, and Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, lead the field to the green flag for the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Ty Dillon, driver of the #3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, and his team celebrate by kissing the bricks after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Lilly Diabetes 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)
Ty Dillon, driver of the #3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Lilly Diabetes 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Ty Dillon, driver of the #3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Lilly Diabetes 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Ty Dillon, driver of the #3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Lilly Diabetes 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Ty Dillon, driver of the #3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, stands on the grid with Haley Carey prior to the start of the NASCAR Nationwide Series Lilly Diabetes 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, and Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Resers Toyota, lead the field at the start of the NASCAR Nationwide Series Lilly Diabetes 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Andy Lyons/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Ty Dillon, driver of the #3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, celebrates with brother and Sprint Cup driver Austin Dillon after Ty won the NASCAR Nationwide Series Lilly Diabetes 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
The Richard Childress Racing #3 Chevrolet Nationwide Series car driven by Ty Dillon. (Photo Credit: Getty Images for NASCAR)
Ty Dillon with his team owner and grandfaster Richard Childress at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 7 2014. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, drives through the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents, the John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 25, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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