July 11, 2012High winds blew across Kentucky Speedway and Austin Dillon blew away the field on June 29 as Dillon led a record 192 laps to win the Feed The Children 300.
Other records fell with the least number of cautions (two) and caution laps (12). The longest green flag session of 113 laps also set a new record as did the fewest cars on the lead lap: eight. The race lasted 1 hour, 58 minutes, 47 seconds, which also set a new record.
"Lap 200, that's the best one," said Dillon, who got his win from the pole position. "It's just getting to the end. It doesn't matter how you win it, as long as you get to Victory Lane at the end. Everything goes a long way."
Mother Nature took center stage, however, before the race began. A massive storm pounding an area from Cincinnati to Dayton kicked out winds toward the track that were recorded at 70 miles per hour. Numerous tents were blown apart, including a large food tent in the infield. Two injuries were reported: a bloody nose and a broken arm. On the outside of the track, one of the Ford Fusions on display was totaled by a falling tent.
When the race started, it was Dillon who became the wind as he took the lead from the start. The first caution didn't come until Lap 26 when Jamie Mosley spun his car into the infield coming out of Turn 4. Dillon continued to lead through the first pit stop and didn't give up the front position until Lap 82 during a green flag stop, handing the spot over to Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Michael Annett led briefly, as did Justin Allgaier, as the stops cycled. On Lap 87, Dillon had the lead again.
From there, Dillon continued to lead until Lap 142, when Annett went up front as Dillon pitted. Allgaier led again briefly after Annett pitted. The race's other caution came on Lap 144, when Mike Wallace connected with the wall in Turn 4. The field came in for service during the caution, and Dillon took the lead on Lap 145 when Allgaier pitted.
From there, Dillon pulled away, building a 5.264-second lead over Kurt Busch with 25 laps to go followed by Kevin Harvick in third. Dillon extended his advantage through the final laps, going on to win by 9.828 seconds, another record, over Busch, with Harvick in third, 11.425 seconds behind. Annett was fourth, and Allgaier completed the top five.
"It was amazing," Dillon said of his first Nationwide win. "I was making sure I took the checkered flag. I wanted to make sure it was the checkered flag. I was excited. There's no better feeling than winning, especially in NASCAR. It takes a little bit off your back when you get that first win."
Dillon said his car stayed loose for most of the race but his experience in dirt track racing made it easy to handle.
"As a driver, you're always trying to figure out a way to drive the car faster," Dillon said. "Almost the entire race I was pretty loose. I turned right pretty much the whole race … I progressively got loose in and off the corner as we ran. You stay in focus and do what it took to run lap times better than the other guys. I was listening to my lap times, and the car was fast enough I could keep my momentum and still have a decent lap time. Even when I thought I was probably bad, we were still good and that was great.
"A lot of my background is dirt racing, and this place has always suited me well. Running the dirt cars you run freer because of the bumps. We worked on getting through the bumps, and it never bothered me. It's just making sure my car was good through the race."
Harvick said being loose for him made for a bad night.
"We weren't very good," he said. "Our car was just really loose for pretty much the whole night. We couldn't make a whole lot of ground. We'd have four or five good laps and that would be about it. It was not a lot of fun."
"We expected the track to get looser once conditions cooled off," Busch said. "We just didn't stay in front. We just stayed loose and a little bit behind. At the end, we got the car as good as we could get. Anytime we see tracks start right at dusk into nightfall and then cool off, they get looser."
Busch said he was hoping to make a run for the front spot but Dillon just proved to be too strong.
"I thought we could battle with him," Busch said. "I expected to lose some ground early in the run. I expected that he would be quicker than us for 20 laps. I felt we would level out after 10 more, and then I thought we could reel him in with 20 to go and put on a good show for the fans here in Kentucky. He was just too strong tonight. It was great to watch him settle in, and he was just dialed in. That was all we could do."
1. Austin Dillon Chevrolet 200 Running
2. Kurt Busch Toyota 200 Running
3. Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 200 Running
4. Michael Annett Ford 200 Running
5. Justin Allgaier Chevrolet 200 Running
6. Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge 200 Running
7. Brad Kesewlowski Dodge 200 Running
8. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford 200 Running
9. Elliott Sadler Chevrolet 199 Running
10. James Buescher Chevrolet 199 Running
11. Kenny Wallace Toyota 198 Running
12. Danica Patrick Chevrolet 198 Running
13. Reed Sorenson Ford 198 Running
14. Cole Whitt* Chevrolet 198 Running
15. Ryan Blaney Chevrolet 198 Running
16. Brad Sweet* Chevrolet 198 Running
17. Mike Bliss Toyota 197 Running
18. Joe Nemechek Toyota 197 Running
19. Johanna Long* Chevrolet 196 Running
20. Josh Richards Ford 196 Running
21. Jeremy Clements Chevrolet 196 Running
22. Jason Bowles* Toyota 195 Running
23. Tayler Malsam Toyota 195 Running
24. Jamie Dick Chevrolet 195 Running
25. Erik Darnell Chevrolet 193 Running
26. Eric McCure Toyota 193 Running
27. T.J. Bell Chevrolet 192 Running
28. Tanner Berryhill Toyota 192 Running
29. Jamie Mosley Chevrolet 182 Running
30. Brian Scott Toyota 176 Engine
31. Mike Wallace Chevrolet 143 Accident
32. Timmy Hill Ford 141 Rear Gear
33. Denny Hamlin Toyota 132 Engine
34. Denny Efland Chevrolet 103 Ignition
35. Morgan Shephard Chevrolet 48 Fuel Pressure
36. Kevin Lapage Chevrolet 32 Wheel
37. Scott Riggs Chevrolet 11 Ignition
38. Tim Andrews Ford 10 Rear Gear
39. Chase Miller Chevrolet 6 Ignition
40. Josh Wise Chevrolet 5 Vibration
41. Blake Koch Chevrolet 5 Engine
42. Jeff Green Toyota 4 Vibration
43. Scott Speed Chevrolet 2 Engine
Time Of Race: 1 hour, 58 minutes, 42 seconds
Average Speed: 151.643 mph
Margin of Victory: 9.828 seconds
Lead Changes: 7 among 4 drivers
Most Laps Led: Austin Dillon, 192
Cautions: 2 for 12 laps