With Kyle Busch out indefinitely, another NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver had the chance to dominate the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Austin Dillon glided to victory, facing some slight interference from Ryan Blaney in the final laps. The 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion started on the pole in the No. 33 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing. ‘Domination’ is the only word to describe it.
What stuck out in the end was Blaney’s perseverance and maturity. The Team Penske driver, who now runs a partial Cup schedule with Wood Brothers Racing, scuffled with Joe Gibbs Racing driver Erik Jones with around 30 laps to go. Blaney hit Jones’ left rear tire and caused the No. 20 to get loose and hit the wall. Jones was up front all day until that incident.
In the closing laps, Dillon and Blaney raced with intensity and intelligence. It was a constant battle of roping the No. 33 in, setting up the pass, and then gathering it up all over again when it didn’t work out. The Penske car overdrove the final turn and fell back as Dillon took the checkered flag. The maturity didn’t end there; when interviewed for his runner-up finish, Blaney apologized first and foremost for the accident with Jones.
If there was anything to take away from the NXS event at Las Vegas, it was the dominating performance by Dillon and the smart racing by Blaney. With these two on the rise in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the future can’t look anything but bright.