Ty Dillon overtook Kyle Busch with 26 laps remaining and went on to win the NASCAR Truck Series race Thursday night at Kentucky Speedway.
Dillon, grandson of team owner Richard Childress, started 22nd and drove the Chevy with the iconic No. 3 made famous by seven-time Sprint Cup champion Dale Earnhardt through the field for his second career Truck victory and first in four starts at Kentucky. He also derailed opening bids by defending Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski and fellow Cup star Busch for a weekend sweep on the 1.5-mile oval.
Keselowski overcame midrace issues to finish second, while Busch edged defending Truck Series champion James Buescher for third. Rookie Ryan Blaney, who started on the pole, was fifth.
"It started off a little shaky, but I knew anything was possible with our guys," said Dillon, who became Kentucky’s youngest Truck winner at 21years, 4 months. "We just kept fighting, kept digging and we had our car dialed in perfect. Then it was time to make some moves.
"To beat Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski, two of the best on four wheels right now, was really special."
Busch appeared headed to his second victory in three years at the track before his No. 51 Toyota lost grip. Dillon pounced and opened up a 2-second lead and coasted.
"I was just fighting for what I had," Busch said of his finish.
Dillon added another Kentucky trophy for Richard Childress Racing. His brother, Austin, swept both Nationwide Series races last year at the track.
"This place has always seemed to be a fit for me and Austin some reason," Dillon said.
Ty Dillon’s victory meanwhile was impressive not only for the way he rallied from a mid-pack start, but for the drivers he passed along the way.
Buescher was seeking a repeat win and three straight overall at Kentucky Speedway, a track that helped him win last year’s championship. A solid 13th after Thursday’s final practice, he started 13th as well in the No. 31 Chevy.
Starting seven spots ahead was the field’s biggest threat in Busch, who won here in 2011 and hasn’t finished worse than seventh in three Truck starts. Taking his second stab at the Truck/Nationwide/Cup trifecta in three years here, he entered the weekend as a two-time Truck winner this season.
Then there was Keselowski, the Cup champion running his second straight tripleheader. After finishing second to Buescher last June, he was intent on adding a Truck win to go along with Cup and Nationwide victories at the track.
Another story worth watching was rookie Jeb Burton, son of 2002 Daytona 500 champion Ward Burton and nephew of Cup veteran Jeff Burton.
Dillon ultimately wrote the happy ending for another his family after other plotlines played out.
Blaney, driving a Keselowski-owned No. 29 Ford, led the first 27 laps before fellow rookie Darrell Wallace took over the front and led for a race-high 54 laps in a Kyle Busch-owned Toyota. Their owners were within striking distance with Busch giving chase right away after starting sixth.
Keselowski had to overcome more challenges to stay in the hunt early on. A four-tire change corrected a right rear issue, but he later fell back to 20th just past the halfway point and had to spend the rest of the race working back through the field.
Keselowski eventually climbed to 12th with 50 laps left, but by then Busch was in front thanks to another surgical run and trying to put distance on Blaney. Things soon got interesting as Keselowski cracked the top five and eventually made it up to third with less than 30 laps left, helped by Blaney’s brush with the wall in the fourth turn wall after drawing within a length of Busch, who led twice for 42 laps.
Dillon, a top-five competitor despite his starting spot, kept charging forward before eventually passing Busch on lap 125 and going to his first win of the season. He moved up three spots to third in the standings, 40 behind leader Matt Crafton (10th) and 22 behind Burton (ninth).