July 03, 2013The Dillon brothers, Ty and Austin, of Welcome, N.C., have found themselves just as welcome at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. Last year, Austin won both NASCAR Nationwide Series races at the track, and on Thursday night Ty became the youngest Craftsman Truck Series winner at 21 years, 4 months, passing truck series veteran Kyle Busch with 25 laps to go to secure his second career 'W' and first at the speedway.
"This track fits our style," Dillon said after his win. "We're dirt racers. The roughness of the track, and the way you have to drive it, it's a flat track. You don't have much banking to hold you, so you have to drive it a little loose here. We're just comfortable with it."
Dillon, however, had to wait his turn to move to the lead. Rookie Ryan Blaney, who won the pole position, took the initial lead, with John Townley second and Busch third. Busch later moved to second, with Blaney owning a 2.587-second lead. On Lap 26, Brendan Gaughn lost an engine for the first caution of the race. Dillon, who was battling a loose truck at the start, went into the pit for major changes.
"We started the race way too loose," Dillon said. "We were just waiting for a caution, because I didn't know if we were going to wreck or put on another show. We got a caution, and (crew chief) Marcus (Richmond) did an awesome job of dialing the car in. We went a little too far and got it tight and played the strategy right."
Richmond said he took the car in the opposite direction, knowing his driver could handle a major change from one end of the spectrum to the other.
"At the start of the race, we were pretty free, then we went pretty big on the adjustments and got it too tight," he said. "I just wanted to go pretty far and go pretty good. I know Ty can go far when he's a little tight. We went too far, and we freed it back up that last stop."
Dillon's crew got two more chances to work on the truck under caution when Brennan Newberry dropped a transmission on the restart and Max Gresham crashed in Turn 2 on Lap 42. At that point, rookie Darrell Wallace took control of the race and led the next 53 laps.
On Lap 109, Busch went back to the front following the night's sixth caution. Racing resumed on Lap 113 with Blaney behind Busch, Timothy Peters third, Brad Keselowski fourth and Dillon fifth. Busch and Blaney battled nose to nose for the next few laps until Blaney tried to make a run for the lead on the high side in Turn 2. Busch swept up the track, pushing Blaney into the wall, but not severe enough to bring out the yellow.
"Today, it was so easy to get strung out," Busch said. "Anytime you saw the leader get in traffic, he slowed down and the guys behind him caught up. You kept kind of accordioning back and forth a little bit. These trucks are really hard to drive in traffic and they punch a really big hole in the air. It's hard to get downforce on them when you're the truck behind and make up ground."
Dillon pushed his way up to second behind Busch. On Lap 124, the 21-year-old driver looked to pass Busch on the outside like Blaney did but was forced to back off. The next time around, Dillon made his move, this time on the inside. From there, nobody could touch Dillon, who went on to win and give the fans a smoky burnout of major proportions. Keselowski moved up to finish second, and Busch was third. James Buescher was fourth, and Blaney rounded out the top five.
"We just kept fighting and digging, and we got our car dialed in perfect and tried to make some moves," said Dillon, who finished the race with an average speed of 127.559 miles per hour. "To beat Kyle Busch and Brad Kesolowski, two of the best on four wheels, they're winning everything right now and I look up to those guys and I want to be like them one day, to beat those guys is really special."
Dillon said patience was key as he watched Busch come to him during the late stages of the race.
"We had to be patient the whole race," Dillon said. "At the beginning and middle of the race, our truck wasn't good enough to go run with them. We were able to hang on in the top five and stay consistent, keep working on the truck."
"I was catching Ryan (Blaney) and Kyle, catching them a couple of times off the corner, and I knew I had something for them," he said. "So, I kept battling and kept running consistent laps. Him and Ryan had that dust-up off the corner, and that gave me huge momentum. Then, I stayed on Kyle and waited for him to make a mistake. His truck got a little loose, and I was able to capitalize on it. From there on, that thing was a bullet."
Keselowski said his team just missed having the right setup to win.
"We had a couple of ups and downs but, altogether, it was a good race," Keselowski said. "We missed it a little bit here and a little bit there, but, overall, it was a great shot. We made a great effort. We just came up a little bit short. Ty did a great job. … We made one or two bad moves, and we needed to be just a little bit better. We missed it by that much."
Busch said he believed he had the truck to beat.
"I'm rather disappointed in a third-place finish," he said. "I thought we had a good truck. It's the best we've run at Kentucky in a long, long time."
1. Ty Dillon Chevrolet 150 Running
2. Brad Kesolowski Ford 150 Running
3. Kyle Busch Toyota 150 Running
4. James Buescher Chevrolet 150 Running
5. Ryan Blaney* Ford 150 Running
6. Timothy Peters Toyota 150 Running
7. Miguel Paludo Chevrolet 150 Running
8. German Quiroga* Toyota 150 Running
9. Jeb Burton* Chevrolet 150 Running
10. Matt Crafton Toyota 150 Running
11. John West Townley Toyota 150 Running
12. Johnny Sauter Toyota 150 Running
13. Cale Gale Chevrolet 150 Running
14. Brett Moffitt Toyota 150 Running
15. Jeff Agnew Chevrolet 150 Running
16. Joey Coulter Toyota 149 Running
17. Ron Hornaday Jr. Chevrolet 149 Running
18. Tim George Jr. Chevrolet 149 Running
19. C.J. Faison Toyota 149 Running
20. Ryan Sieg Chevrolet 149 Running
21. Dakoda Armstrong Chevrolet 149 Running
22. Bryan Stiles Chevrolet 148 Running
23. Scott Riggs Chevrolet 145 Running
24. Ryan Lynch Chevrolet 144 Running
25. Norm Benning Chevrolet 142 Running
26. Jennifer Jo Cobb Dodge 127 Running
27. Brendan Gaughn Chevrolet 118 Running
28. Darrell Wallace Jr.* Toyota 107 Running
29. Todd Peck Chevrolet 98 Overheating
30. Justin Jennings Chevrolet 53 Vibration
31. Max Gresham Chevrolet 40 Accident
32. Brennan NewBerry* Chevrolet 31 Drive Shaft
33. Danny Elfand Chevrolet 9 Clutch
34. Chris Jones Chevrolet 2 Vibration
35. Clay Greenfield Chevrolet 2 Transmission
36. Chris Lafferty Ford 1 Rear End
Time of Race: 1 hr., 45 min., 50 secs.
Average Speed: 127.559 mph
Margin of Victory: 5.735 secs.
Cautions: 6 for 25 laps
Lead Changes: 5 among 4 drivers