Dillon, Hornish Jr. take Nationwide title battle to Phoenix
Avondale, AZ (SportsNetwork.com) - While Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth have a seven-point separation between them in their battle for the Sprint Cup Series championship, the gap between Austin Dillon and Sam Hornish Jr. in their fight for the Nationwide Series title is just six points.
Last Saturday at Texas, Hornish finished third and Dillon fifth, allowing Hornish to shave two points off of Dillon's lead. Two races remain, beginning with Saturday's 200-mile event at Phoenix International Raceway. The season concludes on Nov. 16 at Homestead.
Hornish scored his first career Nationwide win two years ago at Phoenix. He finished seventh here on the first weekend in March. One week later, Hornish claimed his second and most recent victory in the series at Las Vegas.
"I'm really looking forward to going to Phoenix," Hornish said. "I love that track and have a lot of good memories there. We will see what happens. If we can take one or two (points) off this weekend that puts the pressure on him. He doesn't just have to finish within a couple spots of us then. He will have to beat us."
Dillon has finished sixth in the last two races at Phoenix, which is a flat one-mile racetrack. His best finish here is fourth, which came in March 2012.
"I like flat tracks," Dillon said. "New Hampshire Motor Speedway is an example of a flat track where I feel like I have been successful in the past, and I feel like Phoenix International Raceway has some similar characteristics, so I am looking forward to this weekend."
Dillon finished fourth at New Hampshire four months ago. He has yet to win a race this season.
Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Kenseth are those Sprint Cup regulars scheduled to compete in this race. Keselowski won at Texas, giving his No. 22 Penske Racing team a 26-point lead over the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing team in the owners' championship standings.
Busch has the most Nationwide victories at Phoenix with five. He started on the pole and won the spring race here.
Forty-two teams are on the entry list for the ServiceMaster 200.
Series: NASCAR Nationwide. Date: Saturday, Nov. 9. Race: ServiceMaster 200. Site: Phoenix International Raceway. Track: 1-mile oval. Start time: 4 p.m. ET. Laps: 200. Miles: 200. 2012 Winner: Joey Logano. Television: ESPN2. Radio: Motor Racing Network (MRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio.
11/07 23:24:36 ET