Sparta, KY – Rookie Austin Dillon became a first-time race winner in the Nationwide Series with a dominating performance in Friday night's Feed the Children 300 at Kentucky Speedway.
Dillon, the 2011 Camping World Truck Series champion and the 22-year-old grandson of NASCAR multi-team owner Richard Childress, started on the pole and led a track record 192 laps in the 200-lap race. He was untouchable throughout the night, as he crossed the finish line 9.8 seconds ahead of Sprint Cup Series regular Kurt Busch. Dillon's maiden win in NASCAR's second-tier series came in his 26th start.
"This is awesome," Dillon said. "I'm really proud to get these guys to victory lane. This is what we wanted. That was domination, man. The car was great. It's so much fun to come to the track with a group of racers, and that's what they are."
Dillon drives the No. 3 Chevrolet, a car number made famous by the late-Dale Earnhardt, who won seven Cup Series championships. Earnhardt drove for Richard Childress Racing for most of his career before his death in an accident in the 2001 Daytona 500.
After Dillon took the checkered flag, Childress told him over the team radio that "Dale would be proud tonight."
"I really enjoy driving this No. 3," Dillon said. "My grandfather has allowed me to do it. I can't thank him enough."
Not since Dale Earnhardt Jr. won at Daytona two years ago has the No. 3 car won in Nationwide.
Busch, driving the No. 54 Toyota, owned by his elder brother, Kyle, suffered a broken cylinder in the closing laps but managed to nurse the car to a second- place run.
"The car was dialed in at the end, but yet, we were still in the wrong zip code," Busch said. "Austin Dillon was fast tonight. Congratulations to him and Richard Childress."
Kevin Harvick, who drives for Childress in Sprint Cup and Nationwide, finished third, followed by Michael Annett and Justin Allgaier.
Sam Hornish Jr., Brad Keselowski, who won this race one year ago, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., the defending Nationwide champion, Elliott Sadler and James Buescher completed the top-10. Buescher won Thursday's Truck Series race at Kentucky.
Danica Patrick finished 12th.
With the win, Dillon moved atop the point standings. He holds a two-point advantage over his RCR teammate Sadler.
"Everything was great tonight," Childress said. "It was a good run for everybody, and I couldn't be prouder, especially with my grandson. That's really cool."
Stenhouse is now 23 points out of the lead.