Newton, IA – Newton, IA (SportsNetwork.com) - Sam Hornish Jr. put on a dominating performance but had to make a late-race pass on Ryan Blaney for the lead to win Sunday's 250-lap Nationwide Series race at Iowa Speedway.
Hornish, who made just his second start in Nationwide this season, overtook Blaney for the top position following the last restart with 22 laps to go. He then held off Blaney at the finish by 0.8 seconds for his third win in the series, which came in his 101st career start.
Blaney, the pole sitter, and Hornish combined to lead 247 of 250 laps, with Hornish running in front for 167 of them.
"We had a great car all day long. It was just awesome," Hornish said.
Last year, Hornish finished just three points behind champion Austin Dillon in the Nationwide point standings. Hornish is running a limited schedule in the series this season, driving the No. 54 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. He made his first start of the season two weeks ago at Talladega, where he started on the pole and finished fifth.
Kyle Busch, a Sprint Cup Series regular and record-holder for most Nationwide wins with 65, is scheduled to drive the No. 54 car in most races this season.
The remainder of Hornish's schedule in the No. 54 this year includes the second race at Iowa (Aug. 2) as well as Road America (June 21), Chicagoland (July 19), Mid-Ohio (Aug. 16) and Kentucky (Sept. 20).
"We're doing what we came out here to do," he said. "[Joe Gibbs Racing] hired me to drive this car and get points when Kyle isn't in it. To go out there and lead the most laps and win the race, that's exactly what you got to do. It was an awesome day. Just couldn't ask for anything more. We got our feet wet at Talladega and then came here and did what we needed to do."
Blaney, who claimed his maiden Nationwide pole on Saturday, led a total of 80 laps. His first victory in the Camping World Truck Series came at this 0.875- mile oval in September 2012.
"Just couldn't stay with [Hornish] there on that [last] restart," Blaney said. "I ran out of laps, so it's unfortunate. We almost got one at Iowa."
Regan Smith finished third, while rookie Chase Elliott, the current points leader, took the fourth spot. Elliott Sadler completed the top-five.
Brian Scott was sixth, followed by Michael McDowell, who drove the No. 20 car for JGR in this race, rookie Ty Dillon, Trevor Bayne, the defending race winner, and Landon Cassill.
Elliott now holds a two-point advantage over Sadler and Smith. Dillon is 35 points behind, and Bayne trails by 36.