A third-place performance in Saturday’s race at Chicagoland Speedway helped add another point to Sam Hornish Jr.’s lead over Austin Dillon in the NASCAR Nationwide Series standings. It could have been more, but Dillon finished one spot further back in fourth.
This Saturday, the NASCAR Nationwide Series heads back to Kentucky Speedway for the Kentucky 300 with Hornish looking to further extend his lead over Dillon, which currently stands at a margin of 17 markers.
The race is the series’ sixth and final standalone event of 2013, and without any NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers in the field, Hornish and Dillon have to be considered the favorites to visit Victory Lane. A win for either driver could go a long way in creating momentum for the final seven races of the season and a possible run at the championship.
The winners of the first five standalones: AJ Allmendinger, who was victorious at Road America and Mid-Ohio; Joey Logano at Chicagoland; Brad Keselowski in the August race at Iowa. Amazingly, all four of these wins came in the No. 22 Penske Racing Ford. The lone outsider was Trevor Bayne, who won the first standalone event of the season at Iowa in June. Bayne was behind the wheel of the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford.
Hornish, who drives the No. 12 Penske Racing Ford, has three top-10 finishes in three starts at Kentucky Speedway. Last season he finished sixth and second in two trips to the 1.5-mile speedway. In June of this year, he placed ninth, for an average finishing position of 5.7.
Dillon has also started three NASCAR Nationwide races at Kentucky but has a slightly better record than Hornish, helped by a season sweep at the track in 2012. He followed that up with a sixth-place performance in the series’ first trip to the track in 2013. In three Kentucky races in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, he’s finished second, 14th and ninth.