Austin Dillon led 192 laps on his way to scoring his first career Nationwide Series victory in Friday night's Feed the Children 300 at Kentucky Speedway.
However, NASCAR officials announced that Dillon’s No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet failed post-race inspection because the car’s heights were too low in the rear. A penalty will be issued and is expected on Tuesday.
Dillon powered his way to the victory leading second place Kurt Busch to the finish line by 9.828 seconds, the largest margin of victory in Kentucky Speedway history. His 192 laps led were also set a Nationwide Series mark at the track.
“This is just been an awesome year so far and now we got the points lead," said Dillon after celebrating the victory with his crew belly sliding in the infield grass. "This was just such a great race. I get around this place well.
"It was time to get a win."
Dillon started from the pole and scored his first win in career start number 26.
"Dale would be proud tonight," said Dillon’s grandfather and team owner Richard Childress referring to the number 3 returning to NASCAR’s victory lane.
Not since Dale Earnhardt Jr. won at Daytona in 2010 has the 3 car won a NASCAR Nationwide Series race.
Busch lost a cylinder in the losing laps but was able to hang on for the runner-up finish.
The car was dialed in tonight but we were still in the wrong zip code racing with Dillon," Busch said. "That kid is really coming along well.
"We dropped a cylinder with about six to go; it's just one of those bummer deals. It's neat to be able to help develop this team."
Dillon’s Richard Childress Racing teammate Kevin Harvick was third with Michael Annett scoring a career high fourth place finish.
“This just started off perfect last night at practice when we unloaded and were really happy with it,” said Annett of his Richard Petty Motorsports Ford Mustang. “We tried something new on this Mustang and it was even better. We had a car that could run the bottom, run on the line and move up three grooves and we knew that is what we were going to need tonight after watching the truck race and seeing how hard it was to pass. That is what we built into it this afternoon and we are really happy with the way it ended up.”
Justin Allgaier rounded out the top five.
Sam Hornish Jr., Brad Keselowski, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Elliott Sadler and James Buescher completed the top 10.
Stenhouse‘s night included a pit stop miscue that saw his jack man injured and taken to the infield care center for attention.
But the defending series champion didn’t blame his on track struggles on what happened on pit road.
“No, that was not the issue,” said Stenhouse Jr. “The adjustments on the pit stop were the issue. We dialed it out every single time and never got any better. We went from a second place car to an eighth place car. We have to look at what adjustments we made and see what it did to the race car because we definitely went backwards. If you have a good race car you can bounce back from a bad pit stop like that. It just wasn’t very good.”
The race was slowed by only two caution flags.
It was a disheartening night for the Joe Gibbs Racing team, which experienced more engine woes. Motor problems knocked out both Denny Hamlin and Brian Scott.
Dillon took over the series point lead by two over Sadler with Stenhouse Jr. 23 behind.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series now heads to Daytona International Speedway next Friday night for the Subway Jalapeno 250 powered by Coca-Cola.