Sparta, KY – Ty Dillon claimed his second career Camping World Truck Series victory after beating Sprint Cup regulars Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch in Thursday night's UNOH 225 at Kentucky Speedway.
Dillon, the 21-year-old grandson of NASCAR multi-team owner Richard Childress, passed Busch for the lead with 26 laps remaining and then took command from there. He started 22nd after struggling in qualifying earlier in the day. Dillon beat Keselowski to the finish line by 5.7 seconds. Keselowski took second from Busch with 13 laps left.
"I knew we were good in practice, but qualifying was just kind of a weird deal," Dillon said. "We just kept fighting and kept digging. We had our truck dialed in perfectly. I knew when the truck was perfect it was time to make some moves.
"To beat Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski is really special. I look up to those guys, and I want to be like them one day."
Dillon's first truck win came in August 2012 at Atlanta. He earned rookie of the year honors in the series last season.
One month ago, Dillon was seventh in the point standings after his 31st-place finish at Dover, but following a second-place run on June 7 at Texas and then a win at Kentucky, he has moved up to third in the rankings. He is now 40 points behind leader Matt Crafton, who finished 10th.
"We have a strong team, and we're not giving up," Dillon said.
Busch, who led 42 laps before Dillon passed him, dealt with a loose truck late in the race. He bumped into Ryan Blaney while the two were battling for the lead with 32 laps to go, causing Blaney to scrape the wall. That allowed Dillon to move into second at the time. Busch crossed the finish line just inches ahead of James Buescher to take third place.
"I hate it for Blaney that he got tore up," Busch said. "He got to my outside there. I was off the gas and moving left, and there was just air dumping on my spoiler and making me tight. I put him in the fence and hate it for him, because he's racing for a win just like we are. I didn't want to do that, but it just happened that way."
Blaney, who started on the pole and led the first 27 laps, ended up finishing fifth.
"I got a really good run on (Busch), but we got together coming off of (turn) 4 and that put me in the wall," Blaney said. "It hurt the right-side of the truck too bad to where I really couldn't come back. But still, finishing fifth with a damaged truck was pretty good."
Buescher, the defending series champion, scored his first top-five finish of the season with a fourth-place run. He won at Kentucky last September.
Just prior to the third caution on lap 42, Keselowski suffered a tire issue. He had to pit multiple times during the caution and restarted in 24th.
"I thought something was wrong and thought I might have screwed it up, but when I came in and put new tires on it, then it was okay," Keselowski said. "I don't know if we had a bad set of tires or something."
It was the fourth time Keselowski has finished second in a truck race. He has yet to win in this series.
Keselowski and Busch are competing in all three NASCAR races at Kentucky this week.
Timothy Peters finished sixth, followed by Miguel Paludo, German Quiroga and Jeb Burton, who scored his first victory in the series at Texas. Burton trimmed Crafton's points lead to 22.
Darrell Wallace Jr. led the most laps with 54, but Wallace crashed into the wall in turn 3 on lap 87. He had moved up the track and bumped into Blaney.
"I'm not (ticked) off at Ryan, and we're buddies," Wallace said. "Stuff happens. I've been frustrated since lap 1. I haven't figured out these trucks. I get behind somebody and then I plow into the fence, so I'm frustrated."
Wallace spent more than 40 laps in the garage for repairs. He wound up finishing 28th.