The NASCAR Nationwide Series rejoins the Sprint Cup Series this weekend at Dover (Del.) International Speedway by running the companion 5-hour Energy 200 race on Saturday. Last weekend, though, the Nationwide Series ran its final stand-alone race of the season, the Kentucky 300 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta on Sept. 21. It was the perfect opportunity for series regulars to shine. Instead, Camping World Truck Series regular, Ryan Blaney, took the No. 22 Penske Racing Ford to victory lane.
It was Blaney's first-career Nationwide Series win, but he became the fourth different driver this year to win in Penske's No. 22 car, joining Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and A.J. Allmendinger.
"That's very cool," Blaney said of the No. 22 team's record of 10 wins with four drivers. "It just shows how good this team is."
** See photo gallery of the Kentucky 300 at the upper left**
Blaney's teammate for the weekend, Nationwide Series points leader Sam Hornish Jr., finished fourth after leading much of the first half of the race. Hornish was running second to Blaney on a restart just inside the final 20 laps of the 200-lap event but his car got loose on the restart and he dropped back as far as seventh before recovering and making his way back up to fourth.
Blaney took over just past the halfway point of the race and led 96 laps of the final 100 of the race. He did lose the lead, temporarily, to Elliott Sadler when Sadler opted to take only two tires during a lap-106 caution. Blaney got off pit road second to Sadler and retook the lead soon after the race returned to green.
The yellow flag waved nine times throughout the race, with four of those cautions coming out in the final 40 laps. Blaney was able to maintain the lead on those final restarts, despite challenges from Austin Dillon and Hornish.
"I tried to get through there as good as I could," Dillon said. "His car was just really good. Everything was good tonight. There was just one car better than us."
Dillon had to settle for second, while another Truck Series regular, Matt Crafton, finished third. Alex Bowman was fifth.