NEWTON, Iowa — official release — Chris Trotman/Getty Images North America photo — Edging out one of the most competitive fields of the year, Ty Dillon posted his first career NASCAR Nationwide Series win at the historic 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In doing so, he claimed Nationwide Insurance’s $100,000 Dash 4 Cash check and also closed the gap (-15) between he and the points leader, Chase Elliott. Dillon became the 12th different winner through 19 races this season, the most at this point since 2007.
Dillon has quietly formulated a solid season thus far. He is fourth in the standings, 15-points back from the lead after posting one win and 13 top 10s. Though under the radar earlier this season, this past weekend’s victory at Indianapolis thrusts Dillon into the spotlight of championship contention. Dillon has an average finish of 9.5 and a season-to-date Driver Rating of 96.2 (seventh-best in the series) in 2014.
Returning to Iowa, Dillon looks to capitalize on his recent success and make it two wins in a row. Dillon made his series track debut at Iowa earlier this season where he started 13th and finished eighth.
“Iowa has always been one of my favorite race tracks,” Dillon said. “I really think it fits my driving style because it’s fast, but a shorter track. It’s important that we qualify well and stay smart. We’ve got all the momentum in the world right now,” said Dillon.
The 22-year-old has fixed his sights on standings leader Elliott, who has set the bar high this season. Elliott has three wins, eight top fives and 13 top 10s in 19 starts. Elliott finished fourth in his series debut at Iowa earlier this season.
Dillon will have to leap frog two formidable opponents in the series standings to get to Elliott, however. Currently third in the standings just four points ahead of Dillon is Elliott Sadler. Sadler has made seven starts at Iowa, winning once and posting six top-five finishes. His average finish of 3.9 at Iowa is his career best among series tracks on the schedule.
Ahead of Sadler is Regan Smith, second in the series standings, 11 points ahead of Dillon. Smith is having a career season. In 19 starts he has a career-best average finish of 9.0, has led the standings multiple times and won the season-opening race at Daytona. In three starts at Iowa, Smith has posted an average finish of 7.0, including finishing third earlier this season.