By Katie Copple – As the end of the NASCAR Nationwide Series season draws near, it all comes down to two drivers – Austin Dillon and Sam Hornish Jr. With three races left and only eight points separating the two, it’s still anybody’s guess as to who will be the champion in Homestead-Miami.
With one championship under his belt in the Camping World Truck Series, Austin Dillon is sitting comfortable at the top of the standings. He has been racing stock cars his entire life and holding that Nationwide Series trophy in his hands would be the perfect end before moving up to Sprint Cup Series.
Coming from a family of racers, Dillon has some of the best equipment out on the track but his talent speaks for itself. Although winless this season, he has consistently run up front. Eleven top-5 finishes and seven pole wins, including four in a row, has left Dillon with an average finish of ninth this season.
Sam Hornish Jr. finished fourth in the standings last season, 81 points behind Austin Dillon in third. With a win this season at Las Vegas, he has shown improvement and consistency this season. Hornish has one win at Phoenix back in 2011, but seems to run mid-pack at Texas and Homestead. He will have to fight hard to regain the point lead from Dillon.
As a three-time IndyCar Series champion, Hornish is currently unsure of his plans for 2014. His average finish this season is 9.4, up slightly from last season, and he has been the series point leader for most of the 2013 season. His best chance of getting back to the top is going to be consistency, which is something he has shown this season.
Can Hornish make it back to the top? Will Dillon add another championship title to his name before moving up to the Sprint Cup Series?
The Nationwide Series championship battle will no doubt be decided in the closing laps at Homestead-Miami. With two very talented and competitive drivers battling it out for the trophy, the next three races will be ones you won’t want to miss.
Katie Copple is a Popular Speed Development Journalist.