Ty Dillon claimed his first-career NASCAR Nationwide Series win on Saturday by beating the series’ winningest driver, Kyle Busch, at one of the most hallowed grounds in all of motorsports, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, when he won the Lilly Diabetes 250 at IMS.
“It feels great,” Dillon said. “I couldn’t ask for anything better right now — to beat Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Kevin Harvick, all the guys we beat.”
Busch finished second, Matt Kenseth was third, Kevin Harvick fourth, and Joey Logano rounded out the top-five.
Dillon got by Busch on lap 77, soon after the final restart of the race, and drove away from Busch over the course of the remaining 23 laps that made up the 100-lap race.
“I slipped and he got right by me,” Busch said. “He drove underneath me, and that was the race, right there.”
The race came down to a battle of pit strategies in the second half. Originally, most teams planned on a road course-type strategy, pitting as soon as they entered their pit windows. As a result, Harvick and others stayed out with the second caution of the race came out on lap 55. Busch, Dillon and other headed down pit road, but Harvick and others waiting until the race went past lap 65 under green.
The yellow flag waved one more time for debris on lap 71, negating the benefit of Harvick’s strategy. With the additional caution laps, Busch, Dillon and the rest who pitted under the previous caution were able to go the remaining distance.
While Busch and Dillon restarted up front, Harvick restarted outside the top-15.
Busch started on the pole, but like he lost the lead to Dillon on a restart, he lost the lead at the start of the race to Kenseth. Harvick got up to second, and by lap 10 was leading the race.
Harvick lost the lead to Logano on the first restart of the race that followed a yellow flag on lap 15. Logano and Dillon took two tires and restarted the race first and second, while Harvick took four.
Harvick eventually got back up to second and took the leaed as some headed down pit road early just past lap 30. Harvick stayed out and ran up front until he finally pitted for two tires on lap 45.
With the win, Dillon also claimed the $100,000 Nationwide Insurance Dash 4 Cash bonus as the highest-finisher among the four Nationwide Series championship-eligible drivers who raced their way into Indianapolis eligibility a week earlier at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. To claim the bonus, Dillon had to finish ahead of Brian Scott, Trevor Bayne and Chase Elliott.
“It’s all about the trophy, though,” Dillon said.
Dillon also claimed eligibility to race for another Dash 4 Cash bonus, the fourth and final one of the year, next weekend at Iowa Speedway in Newton. He’ll be challenged by Scott, Bayne and Regan Smith for the bonus in Iowa. Scott finished seventh, Bayne ninth and Smith 10th at Indianapolis on Saturday.
Other top-10 finishers included Paul Menard in sixth and Kyle Larson in eighth.