After the Trucks race the night before, the afternoon Nationwide event at Kentucky was a bit of a let down, not following up with a wreck-fest.
More so, the excitement came from the points standings.
I noticed a tweet on Twitter that stood out to me. The tweeter mentioned that, even if there were four drivers mathematically eligible for the NNS championship at this point, this was a two-horse race between Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Elliott Sadler. Why this bothered me, I wasn’t really sure, but it seemed very narrow-minded. I thought it would be shaken up today, someway, somehow.
Two cautions flew for small incidents, so things went fairly smooth before the competition caution at lap 30. Coming down pit road, everyone was antsy.
As Stenhouse shot from his pit, the #14 of Eric McClure was coming in. McClure pinched Ricky, slamming him in the side. The #6 backed up to get repairs under the yellow. He had to start at the tail-end of the lead lap.
Fast forward to after the restart, Stenhouse was attempting to make up as many spot as he could. Now, from my point of view, he was driving a bit crazily, very urgently. I understand why, but there was a lot of time to make those spots up. Anyway, he overdrove it, snapped loose, and hit the wall.
So, for the rest of the race, Stenhouse tried to regain as many points as he could, but he ended up finishing 17th, three laps down.
Meanwhile, Elliott Sadler was one of the best cars out there. He was driving away towards the win when he had trouble with his power steering. As much as it bothered the driver, he dealt with it and was still fast. When the final caution came out, however, Sadler came down pit road after crew chief Luke Lambert called it. The team put two tires on, and he restarted in the top ten.
He couldn’t make up all those spots, however. At the end of the day, he finished fifth.
So who won? Austin Dillon’s car wasn’t as dialed in as Sadler’s, but he was still fast. As soon as that RCR machine breathed cleaned air, it was gone. Dillon swept Kentucky, the first time since Joey Logano did it in 2009. This win was a birthday present to Pop Pop Childress, who celebrated his birthday yesterday.
Also, Sam Hornish Jr., who is also in a position to capture that championship, had a solid day and finished second.
Now, here are the points after Kentucky (the first four positions):
Elliot Sadler (leader)
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (-4)
Austin Dillon (-19)
Sam Hornish Jr. (-46)
So, confident tweeter whose handle I forget, is it a two-horse race still?
I don’t think so. These next few races will show us who’s ready to rise to the top.