SPARTA, Ky. — Domination of NASCAR Nationwide Series races isn’t just for Sprint Cup Series regulars.
Nineteen-year-old NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Ryan Blaney led 96 of the 200 laps in earning his first Nationwide Series victory in just his 15th start in the series in Saturday night’s Kentucky 300 at Kentucky Speedway.
The son of Dave Blaney drove the same Penske Racing Ford to victory that Brad Keselowski won with at the 1.5-mile track in June. Blaney, who has two career truck wins on his resume, joined Keselowski, Joey Logano and A.J. Allmendinger as the fourth different driver to steer the No. 22 to victory this season. It was the 10th victory of the season for the No. 22 as Blaney beat Austin Dillon by 2.018 seconds.
“It is really tough to hold onto the lead on those restarts,” said Blaney, who endured nine caution flags en route to victory. “There were a couple of hairy situations on those restarts. Everyone at Penske Racing does a good job of giving me good cars to drive and I’m the fourth different driver to win in this car and I’m really fortunate to have the opportunity to drive for this team. I am very proud of my guys.
“I’m kind of speechless right now. I am very glad to be able to do this.”
Dillon didn’t have anything for Blaney at the end.
“I tried to get there through the best I could, but his car was just really good,” said Dillon, who pulled to within 15 points of leader Sam Hornish Jr. “That 22 car has been good all season and they have been tough to beat. Everything was good tonight, but there was one car better than us here tonight.”
Matt Crafton finished third in the Richard Childress Racing No. 33 with Hornish fourth and Alex Bowman fifth.
Drew Herring claimed sixth driving Kyle Busch’s No. 54 with Brian Vickers seventh and Jeb Burton, in his first Nationwide Series start, eighth.