The Dillon dominance at Kentucky Speedway continued Thursday night as Ty Dillon led the final 26 laps to win the Camping World Truck Series UNOH 225.
“I guess that’s three in a row for the Dillons,” said Ty, whose older brother Austin swept both Nationwide Series races at Kentucky in 2013.
Ty Dillon finished third in both truck races last year at the track where he made his NASCAR debut in 2011, and the photo on his bio page at tydillonracing.com features him posing in a cowboy hat next to his truck in front of the finish line at Kentucky Speedway.
“This place means a lot,” he said. “Every time I come here I’ve ran well. We’re dirt racers, and this is the roughest of the tracks. It’s a little bit of a flat track, you don’t have much banking to hold you, so you’ve got to drive these things loose here.”
It was the second career victory for Dillon, the reigning truck series rookie of the year and the youngest grandson of car owner Richard Childress. And it made him the youngest truck winner in Kentucky Speedway history at 21 years, 4 months.
“I don’t think there’s a young driver that works harder than he does, and Austin’s right there with him,” Childress said. “Ty’s got that natural knack to know when to go, and I was really proud of him tonight.”
The time to go came on Lap 125 when Dillon dove underneath Kyle Busch, who had led the previous 42 laps.
“I was loose and we came in and tried to tighten it up and make it better and it was still loose,” said Busch, who finished third. “We tested here and it was like clockwork. At 9:15 it was loose, so I don’t know. I can’t believe we messed up like that.”
Brad Keselowski, who along with Busch will be driving in all three races this weekend, passed Busch 14 laps later to finish second. But he never threatened Dillon, who continued to drive the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet away from the field for a comfortable winning margin of 5.735 seconds.
“Obviously Ty had a great truck, and we did, too,” Keselowski said. “It just didn’t come together. I made a few mistakes, and Ty did a great job.”
The victory was Dillon’s first since he won from the pole in Atlanta in August last year.
“To beat Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski – two of the best on four wheels right now – I look up to those guys and want to be like them someday, so to beat them was really special,” he said.
James Buescher finished fourth, while pole-sitter Ryan Blaney rounded out the top five.
Darrell Wallace Jr. led a race-high 54 laps but finished a disappointing 28th after making contact with Blaney and then the wall on Lap 87.
“Darrell was probably the best truck here until he got tore up,” Busch said.
Dillon’s win also enabled him to jump three spots from sixth to third in the points standings, 40 behind Matt Crafton, who finished 10th.
“After Dover and the blown motor, me and (crew chief Marus Richmond II) said we aren’t looking (at the standings) anymore,” Dillon said. “All we want to do is win right now.”
Seeing the black No. 3 do burnouts before driving into Victory Lane brought back memories for Childress from his days working with Dale Earnhardt.
“I was with (Earnhardt) in a lot of winner’s circles with the 3,” Childress said. “I guarantee he’s looking down and smiling right now.”