SPARTA, Ky. - Ryan Blaney won a trophy. He won a Crosley Brands jukebox. He won a trip to Myrtle Beach for himself and the crew of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford.

The victory in the NASCAR XFINITY Series' (NXS) 300 at Kentucky Speedway also had a redemptive value after Blaney nearly let it slip away.

The 21-year-old driver lost the lead on the next-to-last restart then passed Richard Childress Racing's Ty Dillon on a green-white-checkered flag overtime finish with the help of a bump from behind by JR Motorsports' Regan Smith. 

The assistance helped send Blaney to his fourth career series victory and second in September on a bumpy 1.5-mile track where two years earlier he earned his first NXS victory.

"We were just even with (Dillon) and (Smith) gave us a good push," said Blaney, who led four times for a race-high 81 laps. "That's all it is now - who can get a big push. Luckily, we were able to get a good one and just get a little bit of position to kind of ease up the race track to get in front of him (Dillon). I knew once we were clear we had a really good shot at it."

Dillon crossed the finish line 0.519 of a second behind Blaney in the fifth-closest series decision and first green-white-checkered-flag finish through 19 appearances at the speedway since 2001. Dillon was one of three Richard Childress Racing (RCR) drivers in the top six. Brandon Jones placed fifth and defending race winner Brendan Gaughan took the checkered flag sixth.

 "This hurts for our team," said Dillon, who led 43 laps but remains winless this season. "It's nice to be upset with second. We've been really, really strong and we've got more races to go. We'll get in victory lane. It just hurts to lose it like that."

Smith finished third followed by defending series champion and JR Motorsports driver Chase Elliott in fourth. Series championship leader Chris Buescher finished seventh, matching his series track-best finish for a third time.

With six races remaining on the schedule, Buescher leads Dillon by 19 points heading to the Oct. 3 race at Dover International Speedway.

Saturday’s race was slowed by a record-tying 10 cautions and stopped for 18 minutes, 27 seconds by a red flag halfway through.  

The red flag was necessary so the track’s safety crew could clean up debris and fluids left behind after Brennan Poole and Harrison Rhodes wrecked in Turn 1. Poole’s car veered off course onto the apron and then slid up the track into the path of Ben Rhodes’ car.

The stoppage and the cautions led to some electrifying restarts that featured three and sometimes four-wide racing.

The 17 lead changes among seven drivers were a reflection of that action. The last came on a restart for a caution brought out when Jeremy Clements wrecked on the backstretch.

Erik Jones was among the drivers who led a lap.

He flew to Kentucky Speedway after finishing seventh in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race held earlier Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and started the 300 at the rear of the field as a penalty for missing qualifying.

Jones quickly made his way through the field in the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing machine and took the lead on Lap 89 after a pit stop that coincided with a caution. After some initial confusion about where his car was on pit road in relation to the lead car on the track, Jones was scored as the leader. He led two times for 13 laps and finished eighth.

"I thought we were a second or third place car but it just didn’t work out," he said. "Long day, but a fun day overall."

Team Penske left Kentucky Speedway with a commanding 64-point lead over JGR’s No. 54 team in the owner points.

Saturday’s victory also completed a season sweep by Team Penske of the series’ races at Kentucky for the second time in three seasons. Brad Keselowski won in the No. 22 Ford in July at Kentucky Speedway.

The team has won five XFINITY Series races at the track since 2011, the most of any team. The organization owns a combined 11 all-time victories at the venue in NASCAR Sprint Cup, NXS, NCWTS and ARS competition.

“This whole Penske organization has been really strong at Kentucky ever since we started coming here,” Blaney said. “There’s just something about these rough racetracks that really suits them well. They do a great job of bringing great racecars to the track, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to drive them a couple times here at this racetrack. It’s just something really special to do.

”Honestly, I’ve never seen a team be so dominant at a racetrack. It feels like every time we come here the 22 car is one of the favorites to win and usually it does it.”

LEARNING EXPERIENCE: It was a tough night for Louisville’s Rhodes in his NXS debut just less than an hour's driving distance from his hometown.

The 18-year-old driver of the No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet was involved in two cautions and finished 30th.

His was one of four cars collected in a wreck on the second lap of the race. The damage to the car’s steering suffered in the wreck, Rhodes believes, contributed to a right front tire going flat late in the race.

“It wasn’t our night,” he said. “After two laps, we’re in the wall, somebody got loose underneath us and put us up in the wall. The team did an awesome job recovering from that and I stayed in it all night just like them. We didn’t quit and we actually got up and raced in the top 10 for a little bit.

“But the car was so crooked from the very first wreck, so crooked and sideways, that we just couldn’t make due with what we had. That ultimately is what we believe led to the tire going down and us ending up in the wall.”

Rhodes is scheduled to be back in the car next week at Dover. In eight races this season, his best finish remains a seventh at Iowa Speedway.

IN THIS CORNER: When he was asked to serve as the honorary pace truck driver for the 300, Rich Franklin could have invited anybody to share the experience with him. The three-time Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight titleholder, who was born in Harrison, Ohio, brought a couple from his church.

“They’re avid, avid NASCAR fans,” Franklin said. “You like to see somebody who truly appreciates an experience.” 

It was a new experience for him.

“Any time your first time opportunity to go to a sporting event is to basically be down on pit road, driving the pace car, meeting the drivers, you get to the see the whole thing, it’s hard to beat that as an experience,” he said.

Franklin’s introduction during the driver’s meeting was met with loud applause and several fans recognized him while out and about on the property. Before piloting the pace truck, he attended an orientation.

“The guy that tells you how you have to drive the pace car, before I got in the truck I was like, 'Oh, there are two pedals here. Which one of these is the best?’” said Franklin, who is vice president of Singapore-based ONE Championship. “He looked at me like, 'Knock it off.’”

POLE WINNER: Rookie driver Daniel Suarez captured his third NXS pole of the season and first at Kentucky Speedway by posting a 179.856 mph lap in the final moments of qualifying.

Suarez led two 300 laps in the first half of the race. At some point before the red flag, a piece of debris punched a significant hole in the grille of Suarez’s No. 18 Toyota. The team patched the hole and he finished 23rd.

FORD TOUGH: Ryan Reed expressed no concern about the physical effects of running the ARS and NXS races just hours apart Saturday.

The driver of the No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2011 and his car is sponsored by the American Diabetes Association and Lilly Diabetes.

“I feel good,” Reed said shortly after winning the Crosley Brands 150. “I’ll go get some food right now, refuel, and go qualify.”

He qualified 19th for the NXS race and was involved in a four-car wreck in Turns 1 and 2 on the second lap of the race. His team was penalized for having too many men over the wall on a pit stop under caution early in the race. In the end, he finished 25th.

RESPECT: A moment of silence was observed before Saturday’s race in remembrance of slain Kentucky State Police Trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder and Major General Thomas Sadler, the late executive director of Speedway Children’s Charities.

- Kentucky Speedway -