SPARTA, Ky. — Ryan Blaney provided more evidence that Penske Racing’s No. 22 Ford can win no matter who’s driving.
Blaney earned his first Nationwide Series victory and another win for the team’s Mustang, holding off Austin Dillon and surviving several late cautions to win Saturday night’s 300-mile race at Kentucky Speedway.
Blaney, who drives for Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski in the Camping World Truck Series, used his second start in the No. 22 to claim the car’s 10th victory of 2013 and a season sweep at Kentucky. Keselowski drove the car to victory in June.
Blaney’s win included tense moments over the final 40 laps, from beating Dillon off pit road with a two-tire stop on lap 166 to reclaiming the lead from Dillon after losing it on the restart. More tests followed, including a near-brush with teammate Sam Hornish Jr.’s loose Ford and one final restart.
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“We just had an awesome, awesome Mustang,” Blaney said. “The team just kept getting the car better and better and as the race went on. Those restarts were tough. Luckily, I had a good enough car to hold them off.”
Matt Crafton was third, Hornish fourth and rookie Alex Bowman fifth.
Dillon shaved two points off Hornish’s series lead and trails by just 15 with six races remaining.
• Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel, closing in on his fourth straight Formula One, won the pole position for the Singapore Grand Prix on Saturday despite skipping the last section of qualifying.
• Funny Car driver Robert Hight secured his second No. 1 qualifying position of the year at the Texas Fall Nationals in Ennis, setting himself up for a shot at his third straight victory of the season on Sunday.