DAYTONA BEACH, Florida — On Friday, July 6 at Daytona International Speedway, NASCAR Nationwide Series drivers will qualify twice.
No, there hasn’t been a competition rule change. Instead, a change to the popular NASCAR Nationwide Series Dash 4 Cash (Twitter – #Dash4Cash) bonus program will be in place. This year, Daytona will serve as the qualifier to determine the four eligible drivers who will vie for the first of four $100,000 bonus payouts beginning July 14 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Following New Hampshire, the next three series races also are Dash 4 Cash (D4C) events: July 22 at Chicagoland Speedway; July 28 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway – the series’ inaugural race at the famed Brickyard – and Aug. 4 at Iowa Speedway.
“I’ve been waiting for these races,” said Austin Dillon, the 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion who graduated to the NASCAR Nationwide Series this year and earned his first win last week at Kentucky Speedway. “It’s going to be a wild one at Daytona and anybody can put themselves in a position for $100,000 going into New Hampshire. I’m going to try to stay out of trouble early and have a shot at the end to be one of those top four to have a chance at the Dash 4 Cash (bonus) next week.”
“That just says a lot for (NASCAR and Nationwide Insurance) and our sport,” said Elliott Sadler. Last October, he was the highest-finishing driver championship contender at the final D4C race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Not only did he win $100,000 but his finish also resulted in $100,000 for his fan partner, Joe Thornton.
“We’ve always been a ‘fans first’ sport and to bring them in to have the opportunity to win this kind of money is awesome,” Sadler said.
Here’s how the Dash 4 Cash program works: The top-four finishers to receive NASCAR Nationwide Series championship driver points at Daytona will qualify for the first D4C race at New Hampshire. The highest finisher of those four drivers at NHMS – he or she does not have to win the race – will win the $100,000 D4C award payout and automatically qualify for the next event at Chicagoland. Additionally, the top-three finishing drivers to receive championship driver points at NHMS also will qualify for the next event at Chicagoland. Those rules will apply for the remaining three events. If one driver wins the three previous D4C awards and wins the Iowa race outright, Nationwide Insurance will award an additional $600,000 bonus, bringing the total payout to $1 million.
Fans can participate in the action by entering the NASCAR Nationwide Series $100,000 Sweepstakes at www.nascar.com/dash4cash. Four lucky entrants will receive an all-expenses paid trip to the final D4C event at Iowa Speedway. The four fans will be randomly paired with the four eligible D4C drivers for that race, and the fan whose driver wins the D4C award also will go home with a check for $100,000, like Thornton did last year.
“It was a thrill just to come to the race. But to win $100,000 – I (was) speechless,” said Thornton, of New Port Richey, Fla. “Everybody didn’t believe me that I won the trip, and I called them at 2:00 in the morning to watch me on TV because I was gonna win that money.”