Racing the blues

SPARTA, KY - JUNE 28:  Justin Allgaier, driver of the #31 Brandt Chevrolet, prepares to drive during practice for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Feed The Children 300 at Kentucky Speedway on June 28, 2013 in Sparta, Kentucky.  (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)

SPARTA, KY – JUNE 28: Justin Allgaier, driver of the #31 Brandt Chevrolet, prepares to drive during practice for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Feed The Children 300 at Kentucky Speedway on June 28, 2013 in Sparta, Kentucky. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)

SPARTA, Ky.—Friday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Kentucky Speedway carries specific significance beyond who wins and loses and how many championship points the drivers earn.

The Feed the Children 300 will establish the eligibility of the first four drivers for the series’ lucrative “Dash 4 Cash” program, the first step on a path that could lead to a $1-million payday.

The top four drivers earning Nationwide Series championship points at Kentucky — in other words, those competing for the series title — earn Dash 4 Cash eligibility for the July 5 NNS race at Daytona. There, the highest finisher among those four will collect a $100,000 bonus and earn eligibility in the following race July 13 at New Hampshire, along with the three other highest finishing drivers to receive championship points at Daytona.

The format continues through races at Chicagoland (July 21) and Indianapolis (July 27). Should one driver win the first three $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonuses and then win the Indianapolis race outright, that driver would receive a total of $1 million.

To Nationwide regular Justin Allgaier, the Dash 4 Cash program adds spice to the racing, especially since there’s an easy way to identify the four eligible drivers in a given race.

“The four drivers that are eligible have a blue windshield banner and a blue spoiler,” Allgaier told the NASCAR Wire Service. “I can tell you that blue really fits in with a lot of paint schemes — not all of them — and so, especially with the guys where the blue doesn’t match, you know exactly where they are on the race track at all times. …

“I think you have to change your style of racing. You’re going to maybe take some chances at those races or push yourself a little bit harder, just because of those bonuses, than you would if you were just running for points on a normal day.”

Fans also have a chance to share the wealth, by registering at www.NASCAR.com/Dash4Cash. Four individuals will be chosen to receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The four fans will be paired at random with the four eligible drivers, and the fan whose driver wins the cash bonus also will earn $100,000.

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