Dillon Will Aim at a Piece of NASCAR Nationwide Series Kentucky History in Today's Kentucky 300
Richard Childress Racing's Austin Dillon will aim at Kentucky Speedway NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) history in today's Kentucky 300 when he tries to become just the second driver to earn back-to-back series pole awards and 300-mile victories at the track.
Drivers will set the 43-car Kentucky 300 field today at 12:35 p.m., and the Kentucky 300 takes the green flag at 4 p.m. Tickets and infield Fan Zone passes go on sale at Gates 10, 15 and 20 at 9:30 a.m.
Joe Gibbs Racing's Joey Logano was the first to accomplish the repeat feat on June 13, 2009 when he took a 300-mile NNS Kentucky title from the pole position. The then 19-year-old talent punctuated his efforts on June 12, 2010 when he earned a third straight NNS 300-mile pole and race victory in the Bluegrass State.
Dillon earned his first NNS Kentucky victory earlier this season on June 29 in the Feed The Children 300 by leading 192 of 200 race laps and setting a new series track record for widest margin of victory at 9.828 seconds.
He hasn't visited Victory Lane since this season, but has registered a combined 13 top-five and 20 top-10 finishes through 26 events. He will look for a strong repeat Kentucky performance this afternoon to help him gain a stronger share of this season's championship battle. He enters today's event third in the championship standings and is trailing leader Ricky Stenhouse Jr., by 34 markers with seven races remaining on this year's schedule.
Dillon rides a string of five straight top-10 NNS finishes into today's event after placing third at Chicagoland Speedway last week. He's started his past two events second on the grid and has qualified in the top 10 for straight events.
He set a solid Kentucky 300 tone yesterday by leading the first practice session with a 175.741 mph (30.727 seconds) before showing eighth on the final practice chart with a 174.481 mph (30.949 seconds).
Another sign pointing in Dillon's favor this afternoon is his solid Kentucky Speedway qualifying prowess. In addition to his June Feed The Children 300 pole, he set the standing NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) qualifying record with a 179.868 mph (30.022 seconds) lap on Oct. 1, 2011 and captured his first track pole award by turning a 175.177 mph (30.826 seconds) circuit on Sept. 3, 2010. Combine yesterday's efforts with his emerging Kentucky Speedway legacy and it's easy to understand why Dillon is approaching his second career Kentucky NNS start with confidence.
"We have speed and I am driving like the last time we were here. I am very confident and I love Kentucky Speedway.
"It's just something about it. I don't know, I've figured out a line or something that's worked for us and the crew chief has worked on making sure the car is right for me. It's been fun out here. This is a great track for me," he said.
Story by Mike Schmaltz