Daytona Beach, FL – The "Dash 4 Cash" is back in the Nationwide Series.
Friday night's 250-mile race at Daytona International Speedway is the first of four events in this year's bonus program from Nationwide Insurance, which is the title sponsor of NASCAR's second-tier series.
Elliott Sadler, Brian Vickers, Austin Dillon and rookie Kyle Larson are those drivers eligible for a $100,000 bonus at Daytona. They were the top-four, point-eligible finishers in last weekend's Nationwide event at Kentucky.
Of the four eligible drivers, the one who finishes highest in the Daytona race will win the cash award and automatically qualify for the next event at New Hampshire (July 13). The three other highest finishing series regulars at Daytona also will qualify to compete for the bonus next week.
The last two Dash 4 Cash races take place at Chicagoland (July 21) and Indianapolis (July 27).
"I can't think of a more wild race to put it in than right here at Daytona," Sadler said. "We're looking forward to being a part of it, and we're very honored to be a part of the first Dash 4 Cash. We want to try to win that money and set ourselves up for the next race."
If one driver wins the bonus at Daytona, New Hampshire and Chicagoland and then scores the victory in the Indianapolis race, he will be awarded $600,000, totaling $1 million in winnings.
"Daytona is probably not the ideal place you'd want to go for a $100,000, because there's so much playing into it, but there's only three other guys that I'm racing against for it," Dillon said. "It is a wild one, for sure. I think your percentage of winning is about flat with all three guys here, because it takes a lot of other things out of it. So it's more about positioning and being there at the end."
Dillon and Sadler collected the $100,000 bonus last year at New Hampshire and Chicagoland, respectively. They were teammates at Richard Childress Racing at the time. Sadler now drives for Joe Gibbs Racing and is teammates with Vickers.
"Hopefully at the end of the day, we're in a position to race for it," Vickers said. "Nothing would make Elliott and me happier than if we were both tandem- drafting to the finish line for the win and the pack is 10-car lengths behind us."
When Larson made his Nationwide debut in February at Daytona, he was involved in a horrifying accident that occurred on the frontstretch during the final lap. Larson's car flipped around and sailed into the catch fence before coming back down on the track. Dozens of race fans in the grandstands were injured, some of them seriously, from flying debris that came from his car and the fence.
"I ran well in the ARCA race in February, and I was competing for the win in the Nationwide race before it turned into one of those wild finishes that Daytona is known for," Larson said. "I feel like I was so close to winning in both of the races I ran there earlier this year."
In wake of the accident, the crossover gate areas at both Daytona and Talladega were reinforced as part of new safety measures.
Forty-two teams are on the entry list for the Subway Firecracker 250. Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano are those Sprint Cup Series regulars competing in this race.
Series: NASCAR Nationwide. Date: Friday, July 5. Race: Subway Firecracker 250. Site: Kentucky Speedway. Track: 2.5-mile tri-oval. Start time: 7:30 p.m. ET. Laps: 250. Miles: 100. 2012 Winner: Kurt Busch. Television: ESPN. Radio: Motor Racing Network (MRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio.