Sparta, KY – Rookie Austin Dillon won at Kentucky Speedway for the second time this season, while his Richard Childress Racing teammate, Elliott Sadler, finished fifth and reclaimed the Nationwide Series points lead in Saturday's Kentucky 300.
Sadler had put on a dominating performance until he experienced a power steering issue just prior to a late-race round of green-flag pit stops. After leading a race-high 93 laps, Sadler ended up losing the top spot to Dillon during the round of stops.
"Nobody could touch us today, because we were so fast," Sadler said. "With about 10 laps before that last green-flag pit stop, I lost the power steering, and it was really locking up on me. I couldn't correct the car, so I really had to drive it safe into the corner."
Dillon, the pole sitter, went on to lead the final 50 laps. His first two career Nationwide wins have come at this 1.5-mile racetrack. In June, Dillon started on the pole and led all but eight of the 200 laps for his maiden victory in the series.
"I really got on and off of pit road good, and that gave us the lead," Dillon said. "It's all about drive and how bad you want it. We really want this championship right now."
His victory here came one day after his team owner and grandfather, Richard Childress, celebrated his 67th birthday.
Sam Hornish Jr. finished second, while Brendan Gaughan and Drew Herring placed third and fourth, respectively.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., the defending series champion, entered this race with a nine-point lead over Sadler and a 34-point advantage over Dillon. But Stenhouse, who led the first 32 laps, ran into the side of Eric McClure's car on pit road during a caution period. Shortly after, he lost control and made contact with the wall. The Roush Fenway Racing driver ended up finishing three laps down in 17th and fell four points behind Sadler.
"We just made too many mistakes today, but we'll make it up," Stenhouse said. "We still had one of the fastest cars there after fixing it."
Cole Whitt, Michael Annett, Justin Allgaier, Ryan Blaney and Brad Sweet completed the top-10. Danica Patrick finished two laps behind in 14th.
Dillon's win put him within 19 points of the lead.
Just six races remain, with the series heading to Dover International Speedway next week.
"We got the points lead back, and we'll head on to Dover," Sadler said. "We feel like we're fired up for the last six races."