All eyes Friday night will be on Austin Dillon. That’s because the 23-year-old is the two-time defending NASCAR Nationwide race champion at Kentucky Speedway.
He also needs a win because he’s been under a lot of pressure to perform this season, his sophomore year. While he’s started most races strong, he could improve on his finishes. Over four consecutive weekends (Charlotte through Michigan), Dillon captured four poles; however, he was unable to convert any of those into wins.
Although the competition is stronger this year, he’s still in fourth place in the standings, 45 points behind leader Regan Smith. In 14 races this season, Dillon has three top fives and eight top 10s. A victory in the Feed the Children 300 at Kentucky would go a long way in relieving a lot of that pressure and put him in the middle of the championship battle.
In last year’s June event at the 1.5-mile track, Dillon dominated the race by leading 192 of the 200 laps and beat Kurt Busch to the finish line by more than nine seconds. In September, he returned to Victory Lane with a 1.059-second margin of victory over Sam Hornish Jr.