Newton, IA – For the first time in his Nationwide Series career, Austin Dillon is atop the point standings.
Despite a 12th-place finish in last Saturday's race at Indianapolis, Dillon grabbed the top spot, as he holds a six-point advantage over Regan Smith. Sam Hornish Jr. came to Indy with a seven-point lead, but after finishing 34th due to an overheating issue, he dropped to fourth in the rankings (-14). Elliott Sadler holds the third spot (-13).
Dillon, who is the 23-year-old grandson of NASCAR multi-team owner Richard Childress, is in his second full season of Nationwide competition.
In 2011, Dillon became the youngest champion in the Camping World Truck Series at age 21. He's now hoping for a title in Nationwide.
"It would be very special, and it's definitely a goal for our whole organization at (Richard Childress Racing)," Dillon said. "I would love to do that for my grandfather and every employee over there. I've been staying focused and making sure that we have good days at the track. We've had good cars all year long. We'll keep trying, and hopefully we'll be in a position to battle for the championship at the end of the year."
While Sprint Cup and trucks are running at Pocono Raceway, Nationwide is competing at Iowa Speedway this weekend. When Nationwide raced at Iowa for the first time this season in June, Dillon put on a dominating performance by starting on the pole and leading 207 of 250 laps. But Dillon gave up the top spot to Trevor Bayne with 22 laps to go, as Bayne went on to score the victory. The race was delayed one day due to rain.
Dillon finished fourth and 15th at Iowa during his Nationwide rookie season last year.
"Iowa Speedway is a place where we have given away a few races," he said. "We've led a lot of laps. We've had pit stop problems and different things happen in the races that have cost us a few wins. I've always been pretty strong there, and hopefully we can capitalize this weekend."
Forty teams are on the preliminary entry list for the U.S. Cellular 250.
Series: NASCAR Nationwide. Date: Saturday, Aug. 3. Race: U.S. Cellular 250. Site: Iowa Speedway. Track: 0.875-mile oval. Start time: 8 p.m. ET. Laps: 250. Miles: 218.75. 2012 Winner: Elliott Sadler. Television: ESPN2. Radio: Motor Racing Network (MRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio.