Blaney claims first Nationwide win at Kentucky
Sparta, KY (Sports Network) - Ryan Blaney became a first-time race winner in the Nationwide Series after holding off Austin Dillon in Saturday night's Kentucky 300 at Kentucky Speedway.
Blaney, the 19-year-old son of NASCAR veteran Dave Blaney, led a race-high 96 laps. He outran Sam Hornish Jr., his Penske Racing teammate, and Dillon after three late-race restarts. His maiden win in NASCAR's second-tier series came in his 15th start. Blaney is a rookie in the Camping World Truck Series this year, driving for Brad Keselowski Racing. He's already won twice in trucks.
Starting second, Blaney took the lead for the first time right when this 200- lap race reached the halfway point. During a caution on lap 108, Elliott Sadler beat him out of the pits to take the top spot, but Blaney reclaimed the position following a restart on lap 112.
"We had an awesome car all night, and we just kept getting it better and better throughout the race," Blaney said. "Those restarts were tough. I knew that last restart was going to be really hard. I had a good enough car to hold them off and get the win."
Blaney drove the No. 22 Ford for Penske. He became the fourth different driver to take that car to victory lane in a Nationwide race this season, joining Keselowski, who won at Kentucky in June, Joey Logano and A.J. Allmendinger.
"It's awesome they can do this with four drivers in a year," Blaney said. "It just shows how good this team is."
Blaney also became the fifth different driver to score his first Nationwide win at Kentucky.
Dillon won both races in the series at Kentucky last year before finishing sixth here earlier this season. He finished two seconds behind Blaney.
"(Blaney) was just great," Dillon said. "I was trying to do everything that I could to get around this place, and he was just better. We were probably one adjustment away from being the best car."
Dillon's second-place run coupled with a fourth-place finish for Hornish allowed Dillon to trim Hornish's points lead from 17 to 15. Hornish started on the pole and led the first 65 laps. He got loose and nearly crashed following a restart with 14 laps to go, allowing Dillon to take second from him.
"It was a lot more wild than we wanted it to be," Hornish said. "That was a big moment, but we got out of it and salvaged a decent night."
Matt Crafton finished third after starting from the rear of the field due to unapproved adjustments on his No. 33 Richard Childress Racing car prior to the race. Rookie Alex Bowman took the fifth spot.
Drew Herring, Brian Vickers, Jeb Burton, who made his Nationwide debut at Kentucky, Cole Whitt and Michael Annett completed the top-10.
Regan Smith is 45 points behind Hornish following his 12th-place finish, while Sadler trails by 54 points after placing 14th. Just six races remain.
09/22 00:09:00 ET