Ricky Stenhouse Jr.Enlarge Photo
Nationwide Insurance, title sponsor of the NASCAR Nationwide Series, introduced its annual Dash 4 Cash program in 2009 with the hopes of shining the spotlight on series regulars. The program awards $100,000 bonuses in each of four races in 2012 and also offers up an additional $600,000 to potentially give one team/driver a $1 millon bonus after all is said and done.
"Since its inception, Dash 4 Cash has brought increased notoriety to the drivers, teams and participating tracks in the NASCAR Nationwide Series," NASCAR Senior Vice President of Racing Operations Steve O"Donnell said.
In April, Nationwide revealed a tweaked format for the 2012 edition of Dash 4 Cash. This year, the July 6 Subway Jalapeno 250 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway was a qualifier, of sorts, with the four consecutive races that follow being the four Dash events.
"The condensed schedule will help our fans follow the exciting storylines and finishes we anticipate with the 2012 program," O'Donnell said.
The highest-finishing Nationwide Series championship-eligible drivers in the Daytona race are the four drivers eligible to race for the $100,000 bonus on July 14 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, finished second at Daytona on Friday, with Michael Annett finishing third in the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford, Austin Dillon fourth in the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet and Dillon's RCR teammate Elliott Sadler in the No. 2 Chevrolet finishing sixth. Those four drivers were the highest-finishing series regulars at Daytona, and therefore, head to New Hampshire with a little extra for which to race.
Anne Proffit photoEnlarge Photo
Per program rules, the highest finishing of the four aforementioned drivers will claim the $100,000 bonus for New Hampshire. Then, that driver, along with the other three highest-finishing championship eligible drivers will battle for the next $100,000 prize in the following race -- the July 22 event at Chicagoland Speedway.
The same process will continue through the July 28 race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Aug. 4 race at Iowa Speedway in Newton.
"I've been waiting for these races," Dillon said prior to the Daytona race. 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."
Those four $100,000 prizes are guaranteed to be awarded. If the same team/driver claims the first three bonuses and wins the race at Iowa, the final of the 2012 program, that team and driver will claim $600,000, in addition to the regular $100,000 Iowa bonus to bring the win total to $1 million.
"Offering a $1 million bonus opportunity for NASCAR Nationwide Series teams brings another level of intensity to the race track and more attention to our series," Nationwide Insurance Director of Strategic Partnerships Jim McCoy said. "There's a very good chance a driver could get hot and take home the million dollar bonus at the dramatic conclusion of our Dash 4 Cash series at Iowa Speedway."
Needless to say, series regulars, at least four in each of the next four races, will have even more to race for in the coming weeks.
Photos courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR.