Loudon, NH (SportsNetwork.com) - The "Dash 4 Cash" is on in the Nationwide Series this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
The top-four finishing series regulars (points-eligible drivers in Nationwide) in last Friday's race at Daytona qualified for the first round in this year's four-race bonus program from Nationwide Insurance, which is the title sponsor of NASCAR's second-tier series.
Those drivers who qualified for New Hampshire based on their finishes at Daytona include: Regan Smith (second-place finish), Ryan Sieg (third), Ryan Reed (fourth) and Jeremy Clements (eighth). All four drivers are first-time participants in the Dash 4 Cash. Sieg and Reed are rookies in the series this year.
The highest finisher among those four at New Hampshire will collect a $100,000 bonus. That person as well as the next three highest-finishing series regulars here will qualify for the second round, which is scheduled for July 19 at Chicagoland. The final two Dash 4 Cash races this year are Indianapolis (July 26) and Iowa (Aug. 2).
"Being part of the Dash 4 Cash program is really cool," Smith said. "We missed out on it last year, and it was disappointing because I really wanted to be in the running for $100,000. It's exciting. Nationwide does a great job promoting our series, and the Dash 4 Cash adds a whole other level. As competitors, we all want to win, but this definitely puts a larger spotlight on these next four races."
Smith, who drives the No. 7 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports, is currently atop the Nationwide point standings. He holds a 12-point lead over Elliott Sadler and a 15-point advantage over rookie Chase Elliott, his teammate at JRM.
Smith placed eighth in last year's Nationwide race at New Hampshire, which marked his first top-10 finish in three starts at this track.
"New Hampshire can be a tricky place to get your car setup properly," he said. "Sometimes the flat tracks are more challenging than others because you don't have the banking that we're used to. We came out of there with an eighth-place finish last year, and I'm certain our team can improve on that this time around."
Reed and Sieg have yet to compete in a Nationwide race at New Hampshire. Clements' best finish here in three starts is 17th (2012).
If one drivers wins the Dash 4 Cash bonus at New Hampshire, Chicagoland and Indianapolis and then scores the victory in the Iowa race, that person will be awarded an additional $600,000, bring the total payout to $1 million.
Forty-one teams are on the preliminary entry list for the Sta-Green 200. Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson and Paul Menard are those Sprint Cup Series regulars scheduled to compete in this race. Busch has won four of the last five Nationwide events at this track (2009, '10, '11 and '13).
Series: NASCAR Nationwide. Date: Saturday, July 12. Race: Sta-Green 200. Site: New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Track: 1.058-mile oval. Start time: 3:30 p.m. ET. Laps: 200. Miles: 211.6. 2013 Winner: Kyle Busch. Television: ESPN2. Radio: Performance Racing Network (PRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio.