- Strong quake hits Japan, triggering tsunami
- Sniper heaven: Pentagon’s self-guided bullets leave enemies nowhere to hide
- Violent gang taking advantage of immigration crisis, using border as recruiting hub
- Medicaid enrollment continues to soar under Obamacare, administration says
- Michelle Obama to Latinos: ‘We cannot afford to wait on Congress’ for immigration
- White House urges GOP to act ‘urgently’ on $3.7 billion request for illegal immigrants
- Politicians, criminals using ‘right-to-be-forgotten’ law EU courts forced upon Google
- Combat fatigue: elite special forces troops are ‘fraying,’ Gen. Joseph Votel warns
- German foreign minister to meet Kerry to discuss spying claims
- Florida police spokesman tells citizens: ‘Get yourself some firearms’
Dillon seeks 1st win of the season at Iowa
Question of the Day
NEWTON, IOWA (AP) - Austin Dillon knows the Nationwide race in Iowa on Saturday night might be his best shot yet at a victory.
But it’s not necessarily because Dillon is running so well.
It’s mostly because Kyle Busch is staying at Pocono Raceway.
Dillon, who took over the Nationwide points lead last week despite going winless through 19 starts, headlines a field almost exclusively made up of Nationwide regulars. Brad Keselowski, who won the inaugural Nationwide race in Iowa four years ago, will be the lone Sprint Cup driver in the field as NASCAR’s top series runs Sunday in Pennsylvania.
“It’s kind of hard to win one when he’s winning every one of them,” Dillon said. “This is a great weekend, for sure, to come out with (Busch) not being here and with less Cup drivers, to take advantage of that. Getting the first one, to be honest, would be huge and propel us through the rest of the season.”
Dillon entered the weekend atop the Nationwide points standings for the first time in his young career, with a six-point lead over Regan Smith and 13 points ahead of Elliott Sadler.
It’s also the latest the No. 3 car has been in first place since 1999, when Dale Earnhardt Jr. won his second straight series title.
Dillon’s car was often so dominant that it rendered much of the race a bore. But his car also had a tendency to lose speed on long runs, and Trevor Bayne blew past him and cruised to victory under green.
“Having a night race, it’s going to be a little bit easier on our tires,” Dillon said. “Maybe (we’ll) take it a little easier earlier in a run if we’re leading, and just try and conserve what we have in the car.”
Keselowski will likely be the driver to beat this weekend. The reigning Sprint Cup champion has a pair of wins in just eight Nationwide starts, and he’s never finished worse than fourth in three career starts in Iowa.
But there might not be a NASCAR team more dominant at a single track than Roush Fenway Racing’s No. 6 car is at Iowa. The car has won four of its last five starts on the short oval, all under the eye of crew chief Mike Kelley.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won three times in a row in 2011-12 before departing for the Sprint Cup series, and Bayne followed with a win in June. Bayne, who is currently in ninth place, knows he’ll likely have to contend with Dillon again on Saturday night.
“You always have to get better. I feel like the No. 3 car was faster than us on short runs last time, and they know that we were faster on the long runs,” Bayne said. “They’re going to bring back something that they can work on for longer runs, so we’ve got to get better on our short runs.”
Follow Luke Meredith on Twitter: www.twitter.com/LukeMeredithAP
Senate majority leader practices politics of personal destruction
- Pentagon's self-guided bullets leave enemies nowhere to hide
- Michelle Obama to Latinos: 'We cannot afford to wait on Congress' for immigration
- Armed militia sets up Texas command center to 'fight for national sovereignty'
- Obama seeks brisk passage of border children funding bill
- Bloomberg: Pro-gun towns must lack roads
- Va. Democrat reportedly seeks nude shots of Kendall Jones
- Florida police spokesman tells citizens: 'Get yourself some firearms'
- PRUDEN: 'Dirty Harry' Reids increasing eccentricity
- House chairman: $3.7B border request 'too much'
- New York City creates ID card so 500K illegal immigrants can get services
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq
World Cup's sexiest WAGs