There’s some added incentive rolled into Friday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series Feed the Children 300 at Kentucky Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN), and it could eventually mean big bucks for a select few of the series’ championship contenders.
Friday night marks the return of the Nationwide Insurance Dash 4 Cash, a bonus program rewarding top finishes by the series’ title contending drivers. The top-four finishing NASCAR Nationwide regulars in the Feed the Children 300 will qualify to run the first leg of the popular program at Daytona International Speedway with an opportunity to win $100,000.
“Kentucky is the qualifier for the first Dash 4 Cash race at Daytona so it’ll add another competitive element to the race,” said Michael Annett, driver of the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford. “We had success last year and were able to win a $100,000 bonus at Indy. It’s a great program and I think we can qualify for it each time. We should be able to win one again this year too. It’s a lot of fun to be a part of with Nationwide Insurance; it’s a nice bonus to race for.”
The highest finisher of the four eligible drivers at Daytona will win the money and automatically qualify for the Dash 4 Cash at New Hampshire the following weekend. The three highest finishing NNS regulars at Daytona not already qualified will also get to compete for the $100,000 bonus at New Hampshire. The final two events at Chicagoland and Indianapolis will carry the same qualifying requirements.
If one driver wins the first three legs of the Dash 4 Cash and the Indianapolis race outright, Nationwide Insurance will award that driver an extra $600,000.
Four fans will be selected to win an all-expense paid trip to Indianapolis where they will be randomly paired with the four eligible drivers. The fan paired with the driver who wins the Dash 4 Cash at Indianapolis will also walk away with $100,000.
A solid pick to be among the top four this weekend: Austin Dillon, who swept last year’s two Nationwide events at Kentucky Speedway.
“I think my dirt racing background plays a factor (in) to my success at Kentucky,” Dillon said. “I get through the bumps really well. The characteristics of the track help me. I think we definitely have a shot at having another dominating performance. Everybody on our AdvoCare Chevrolet team gets really excited about going to Kentucky Speedway because we’ve had such good luck there in the past. Any time you win at a place, you love it. I have other tracks I love, but this one is close to me because I have two really big wins there.”