Sept. 26, 2015
By Chris Knight

SPARTA, Ky. – Ryan Blaney would not be denied Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway.

In fact, Blaney may owe a pushing Regan Smith dinner after a green-white-checkered restart proved to be the saving grace for the driver of the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang, who won his second NASCAR XFINITY Series win of the season in Saturday night’s 300.

Blaney appeared to be heading towards Victory Lane, but an attack from Ty Dillon on a restart with eight laps to go sent him from first to third.

Then, a caution waved with four laps remaining and reset the field into overtime.

“We were just even with the 3 (Dillon), and the 7 (Smith) gave us a good push [on the final restart],” said Blaney who captured his fourth career XFINITY Series win. “Luckily we were able to get a good [push] and just get a little bit of position on the 3 to kind of use up the race track and get in front of him. I knew once we were clear we had a really good shot at it.

“A great Discount Tire Ford Mustang. We were great all night. It was just a matter getting up the front. Clean air was so important.”

As for the next-to-last restart, which saw Blaney’s winning chances temporarily fall, momentum worked against him.

“Kentucky is such a great race track because you can see three or four wide racing in the first corner and as the leader you have to protect and I didn’t know where the 7 (Smith) was going, he kind of faked me out going to the top and that was able to open up the middle and it just lost all of our momentum.”

For Dillon, he was frustrated with his runner-up performance.

“First of all, I am disappointed for second, and that’s a good thing,” said Dillon. “I’m proud to be sitting here saying that. Earlier this year, we didn’t have that opportunity to say that very often. Man, it hurts when you’ve got a big lead with four to go – I don’t even know what the caution was for – but, that’s a stinger.”

Just before halfway Brennan Poole spun in Turn 1 collecting Harrison Rhodes and spewing liquid from Poole’s car putting the field under the red flag for cleanup.

The race was halted for 18 minutes and 27 seconds, with the field returning to idle conditions with the race resuming with 95 laps remaining.

Brandon Jones grabbed the lead on a busy restart and held it through the next caution. With rain in the area, Jones stayed out, while others pitted.

When racing resumed, Jones controlled the field for 16 laps until Blaney made the pass to retake the lead on Lap 128 and through green flag pit stops, set the tone for the finish of the final standalone race of the season.

Chris Buescher, who finished seventh, now leads Dillon by 19 points in the standings with six races remaining. Chase Elliott, who finished fourth, is third, 25 points out.