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XFINITY

Gallagher Showing Growth in Sophomore Campaign

This Friday Night at Richmond, four drivers will compete in the second round of the XFINITY Series’ Dash 4 Cash program, in hopes of winning $100,000.

Among those eligible are a couple of drivers you’d expect to see in Justin Allgaier, Daniel Hemric, and Elliott Sadler. After all, all three drive for the dominant teams in RCR Racing (Hemric) and JR Motorsports (Sadler, Allgaier), and made the Championship 4 last year. However, it is the fourth and final driver that may be a surprise to some.

Spencer Gallagher, who secured his first top-five of his XFINITY Series career last weekend at Bristol, secured the final spot in the Dash 4 Cash after finishing fifth.

While he hasn’t won anything yet, having his name in that picture is huge for him and his team, GMS Racing. Especially after having a disappointing rookie season last year.

Now, there were no big expectations for Gallagher in 2017, after not winning a race during his time in the Camping World Truck Series. However, there was still reason to believe the team would still be successful. After all, GMS, who was also competing in their first full season in the series, had just won the Truck Series championship the year prior, so the intrigue was there to see if they could carry the momentum up.

Ultimately, it was a forgettable 33 races for the team. They only scored one  top-10 with 20 finishes of 20th or worse, failed to make the playoffs, and Gallagher placed 19th in points. All this though, makes what they’ve already accomplished this season even more impressive.

While it may be a surprise they are in the Dash 4 Cash, this is a unit that has quietly had an impressive start to the year, scoring four top-10’s and, qualifying and finishing 15th or better in every race.

GMS and Gallagher have done what they needed, and that is take advantage of the clean slate. If this team can keep this up, they will be in the playoffs, and maybe more, as they proved in Bristol.

While the track will not be in the playoffs, it did represent what the format will be like come September, as there was no full-time Cup drivers, and Gallagher made a statement. They are not the same team from a year ago; they have improved, and could be a contender for a championship.

After all, this is an organization that didn’t light the world on fire when they first entered the Truck Series either but, as they slowly got better and eventually, turned into the powerhouse that they are today.

It is too early to say whether that will be the case in XFINITY but, GMS and Gallagher have become a team to watch as the season continues.

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XFINITY

Byron Brings Home Final Dash 4 Cash Prize of the Season

William Byron scored a big payday Saturday at Dover International Speedway.

He captured the fourth and final Dash 4 Cash prize of the season, joining Bristol winner Daniel Hemric and Phoenix and Richmond victor Justin Allgaier as the only drivers to pocket the $100,000 in 2017.

Byron and Brennan Poole qualified for the Dash 4 Cash in Stage 1 and were joined by Stage 2 winner Darrell Wallace Jr. and Byron’s JR Motorsports teammate Elliott Sadler to compete for the prize. 

After starting the Final Stage deep in the field, Byron worked his way back to the front and finished sixth to take home the money.

It gave JRM three of the four Dash 4 Cash awards this season which attests to how well the organization is running. 

“For JRM, I think it just shows the strength of our team to execute,” Byron said. “We keep building and keep getting more speed. I think we’re executing really well in the race and our teammates are. It’s helping everyone get these Dash 4 Cash’s so we’ll just keep building on that.”

Byron’s success provides added confidence following his strong start being slowed as of late. After beginning the year with five top-10 finishes in six events, Byron placed outside the top-10 in the four consecutive races leading up to Dover.

Now having returned to the caliber of performance that impressed many to start his rookie season, more stout runs are likely ahead.

The 19-year-old will first head to a track where he has visited Victory Lane before, Pocono Raceway.

“I feel really confident going to Pocono,” Byron said. “That’s one place I really like. We had good success there last year with the win in trucks.”

Pocono is one of the most challenging tracks on the schedule, and by winning there early in his career, it shows Byron’s ability to adapt well to new venues.

If he carries the momentum from Dover and quickly becomes comfortable with the XFINITY Series car at the 2.5-mile triangle, he will continue to excel and could break through for his first career series victory.

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @HeyJasonSchultz

EMAIL JASON AT jason.schultz@popularspeed.com

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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XFINITY

Commanding Performance Earns Allgaier Second ‘Dash 4 Cash’ Victory

NASCAR XFINITY Series ‘Dash 4 Cash’ races are designed to bring out the best among series regulars with $100,000 on the line. The added incentive has created competitive racing through each of its three events so far this season and led to standout performances from the drivers in contention for the prize.

Previous D4D winners, Justin Allgaier in Phoenix and Daniel Hemric in Bristol earned opportunities to compete for the bonus in the Final Stage after being the top running series regulars following Stage 1.

After capturing his first career series pole, Hemric led early and ran in the top-five throughout the Stage. Allgaier quickly progressed after starting sixth, and led 11 laps before finishing runner-up. 

Kyle Benjamin earned a D4C spot in his series debut for Joe Gibbs Racing following a strong performance in Stage 2 and placed sixth. Elliott Sadler’s ninth-place run also put him in contention for the $100,000 in the Final Stage for the second time this season.

When the Final Stage went green, there was no stopping Allgaier. After winning Stage 2, he restarted second and regained the lead with 85 laps remaining.

An untimely yellow flag with 11 laps remaining and ensuing pit stops placed Allgaier second for the restart after Ty Dillon gambled for track position and took two tires. Another caution quickly slowed the field again and set up an Overtime finish.

Allgaier entered Turn 1 side-by-side with Kyle Larson but couldn’t remain on his outside exiting Turn 2. As Larson pulled ahead, a crash back in the pack brought out the race-ending yellow flag as the leaders had crossed the Overtime line.

Larson went onto to score the victory while Allgaier came home second and claimed his second D4C win of the year. However, his disappointment from narrowly missing out on victory after leading a race-high 157 laps overshadowed picking up the bonus.

“Ultimately we came here to win the race and had a great opportunity to do that and unfortunately at the end of the race, the whole race, the wheels fell off of it,” Allgaier said.”It just felt like everything went haywire there at the end and unfortunately we ultimately paid the biggest price and didn’t get to go to Victory Lane.”

One Dash 4 Cash contest remains this season when Dover International Speedway hosts the XFINITY Series regulars’ last shot to earn an additional $100,000.

While Allgaier won’t be eligible for the $1,000,000 awarded to a driver who captures all four D4C wins, he will aim to pick up his third prize.

Hemric will have an opportunity to qualify for the XFINITY Series playoffs with a Dash 4 Cash victory at Dover but Allgaier may give him a run for his money

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @HeyJasonSchultz

EMAIL JASON AT jason.schultz@popularspeed.com

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
XFINITY

Impressive Run Leads Hemric to ‘Dash 4 Cash’ Prize

Daniel Hemric is at his best when competing at Bristol Motor Speedway. It’s one of his strongest tracks as he scored two-top five finishes while competing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

In his first NASCAR XFINITY Series start at “Thunder Valley” on Saturday, the combination of his past success and the added incentive to perform well through the ‘Dash 4 Cash’ program led to his best run of the season.

Hemric earned his position among the four D4C competitors after winning Stage 2 by staying out late. Brendan Gaughan used the same strategy to give Richard Childress Racing two opportunities to claim the $100,000.

Cole Custer and Phoenix D4C winner Justin Allgaier accounted for the other two drivers racing for the D4C in the Final Stage after earning their positions following Stage 1.

Competing for the bonus became a game of survival as the laps counted down in the Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300.

Gaughan crashed into the inside frontstretch wall on Lap 245 and sustained heavy damage that ended his day following contact with Darrell Wallace Jr.

Brandon Jones broke loose, began to spin, and hit the side of Custer’s car while racing down the backstretch to initiate the next caution. Unable to beat the five-minute clock, Custer’s day would come to an end as a result of significant left-side damage. 

Allgaier kept pace with Hemric for a majority of the Final Stage but contact with teammate William Byron with seven laps to go would send both cars spinning and Allgaier would find himself too deep in the field to recover.

Hemric remained as the lone D4C competitor up front on the final restart. He crossed the finish line in fifth and scored his first career top-five in the XFINITY Series to capture the D4C prize.

By winning Stage 2, Hemrick gained his first playoff point of the season. Another D4C victory at Richmond or Dover would earn him a spot among the 12 drivers competing for the championship.

He’ll visit Richmond for the first time next Saturday where his short track racing prowess could play in his favor and be back in contention for a second D4C prize.

If he’s unable to pick up the incentive next week, Dover will present one last opportunity in June. It may be his best shot as he has two top-10 finishes in the Truck Series at the “Monster Mile,” including a fourth-place finish in 2015.

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @HeyJasonSchultz

EMAIL JASON AT jason.schultz@popularspeed.com

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
XFINITY

Allgaier Captures ‘Dash 4 Cash’ As New Format Debuts

The first of four Dash 4 Cash races this season in the NASCAR XFINITY Series added some extra incentive for series regulars on Saturday at Phoenix International Raceway.

The DC Solar 200 also marked the debut of the new D4C format that featured the first two stages of the event deciding which four series regulars would compete for the $100,000 bonus in the final stage of the race.

Following Stage 1, pole-sitter William Byron and Elliott Sadler locked themselves in a position to compete for the prize money in the last stage.

Byron finished Stage 1 third while Sadler passed JR Motorsports teammate and eventual race winner Justin Allgaier late in the stage to take the D4C position and finish fifth.

In Stage 2, Allgaier bounced back and finished second, securing his eligibility for the $100,000 in the Final Stage. Tyler Reddick earned the final spot among the four D4C competitors in his first career D4C event.

Once the final stage went green, Allgaier had command over his three competitors. Reddick briefly passed Allgaier after his No. 42 Chevrolet team took two tires on pit road during a late restart. However, Allgaier’s four tires proved superior, and he quickly navigated his way back to the front.

Multiple late restarts stacked up the field and allowed Sadler and Byron to close in on Allgaier. When the No. 7 BRANDT Professional Agriculture Chevrolet was trapped behind leader Erik Jones for many laps, Sadler came within a few car lengths, but once Allgaier passed the No. 20 Reser’s Main Street Bistro Toyota, he didn’t lose the lead again in the race.

Allgaier then perfected the final few restarts and crossed the finish line first, picking up both the race win and $100,000 bonus.

Byron came closest to Allgaier, finishing fourth while Sadler came home fifth and Reddick ended the race in 14th-place.

For the second consecutive year, the winner of the first D4C race of the year also ended the event in Victory Lane. Jones won last year at Bristol Motor Speedway and cashed in on the $100,000.

Now Allgaier will have the opportunity to compete for $1,000,000 if he’s able to claim each of the three remaining D4C prizes.

He will first battle for the money again at Bristol next month, then Richmond International Raceway, and finally during the D4C finale at Dover International Speedway in June.

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @HeyJasonSchultz

EMAIL JASON AT jason.schultz@popularspeed.com

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
News

Revamped Dash 4 Cash Program Returns to XFINITY Series in 2017

NASCAR XFINITY Series regulars will compete for an additional payout in four races again this season as the Dash 4 Cash program returns for its ninth season.

This year’s format has received a shakeup as heat races have been eliminated and the newly implemented race stages for NASCAR’s top three series will play a role in determining which drivers are eligible to battle for the $100,000 bonus.

Phoenix Raceway will host the first of four D4C races on March 18. Bristol Motor Speedway will then host the second event on April 22 followed by Richmond International Raceway on April 29 and the final race at Dover International Speedway on June 3.

With the elimination of heat races, regular Coors Light Pole Qualifying will set the starting lineup for D4C events.

During the event, the two highest finishers from Stage 1 and Stage 2 will determine the four NASCAR XFINITY Series regulars eligible to win the $100,000 bonus during the Final Stage.

The highest finishing D4C driver at the completion of the Final Stage that marks the end of the race will take home the incentive.

To signify D4C eligible drivers during the Final Stage, those drivers will carry a red windshield header.

Playoff eligibility will again be in play for any driver who captures two D4C bonuses during the season as it is looked at as the equivalent of a race win.

Last season’s D4C prize went to Erik Jones twice, and Ty Dillon and Justin Allgaier each captured the incentive once. Jones scored a victory before his second D4C prize which had already qualified him for the playoffs.

With many new faces such as William Byron, Matt Tifft, and Cole Custer competing full-time in the XFINITY Series for 2017, the battle in D4C races will be intense. Pocketing the $100,000 twice to make the playoffs may prove valuable in what could be a very competitive regular season and tight race to the playoffs.

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @HeyJasonSchultz

EMAIL JASON AT jason.schultz@popularspeed.com

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
XFINITY

Emotions Mixed Over Addition of Heat Races

The Dash 4 Cash returns this weekend but does so with a new level of excitement — and uncertainty — thanks to the addition of heat races.

The new format combines elements from NASCAR’s past and puts a twist on qualifying at Bristol Motor Speedway (April 16), Richmond International Raceway (April 23), Dover International Speedway (May 14), and Indianapolis Motor Speedway (July 23).

The highest-finishing XFINITY Series regular eligible for the Dash 4 Cash will win a $100,000 bonus. If a driver collects multiple Dash 4 Cash payouts, they are qualified for the 2016 Chase. A driver must earn the first three bonuses and win the race at Indianapolis to receive the $1,000,000.

Traditional single-car qualifying will be used to determine the lineup of the heat races. After qualifying, odd-numbered qualifiers will compete in the first heat and then the second heat will include the even-numbered qualifiers. The two highest-finishing series regulars in each heat race will be eligible for the Dash 4 Cash bonus.

Daniel Suarez collected two Dash 4 Cash bonuses last season, a feat that would now lock him into the Chase. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver is uncertain about what to expect from the new qualifying format, but he knows it will bring out the intensity in his competitors.

“It will be something different,” Suarez said. “A lot of people are going to be aggressive. We have to be smart and safe for the main race. Honestly, I don’t know what I’m going to do, but what I do know is that we’ll have some extra time on the racetrack. It will be some extra fun, too.”

Erik Jones agreed with Suarez, saying, “I don’t know how it’s going to play out, [but] I’m most curious about how people are going to race knowing you can’t go to a backup car before the feature or the main. I’m interested to see how people handle that.”

He added, “I can’t really give an opinion on it until I see how it all plays out, but I think it’s a good idea; I think it’s just something to change it up. We’re taking the right steps and going in a direction of doing things that have been voiced by the fans and something different than we have seen in the past.”

Richard Childress Racing driver Brendan Gaughan believes everyone is at a disadvantage, regardless of previous experience.

“A lot of us have been in the sport for a long time and remember single-car, single-file restarts with lapped cars on the inside. We remember racing to cautions and all these different rules, [but] this is one nobody in this series has ever done,” Gaughan said. “Yeah, there are late model races and stuff like that, but it’s not this format and this style.

“I’m really looking forward to getting there and seeing how this book writes out. Everybody either wants to write good or bad about it and in my opinion you can’t write good or bad until you see how the first page looks.”

Gaughan praised NASCAR for trying new methods in an effort to please the fans.

“They want to see if this will stick. I mean, why not? You have the XFINITY Series, you have a sponsor, you have people that want to see something exciting,” said Gaughan. “Maybe try something different because fans are always clamoring about [wanting] something different. Throw something on a wall and see what sticks.”

Despite the uncertainty surrounding the heats and qualifying format, there’s an eagerness shown by most drivers for the Dash 4 Cash, and that is exactly what the XFINITY Series needs.

“I’m excited to try it,” Gaughan said. “I don’t know if it’s good or bad. I don’t care if it’s good or bad yet. Let’s get there and see what it does.”

EMAIL KRISTEN AT kristen.schneider@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @KristenS_Writes

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, it’s owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
Development Journalists

Charlotte Earns Four Dash4Cash Opportunity

Four lucky drivers are chasing $100,000 after finishing well in the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The Dash4Cash features XFINITY drivers compete for four $100,000 payouts after each race. Saturday’s race at Charlotte determined @ReganSmith, @BubbaWallace, @dnlsuarez, and @tydillon are eligible for the first monetary prize.

“It’s obviously a great program,” said Smith, who won a Dash4Cash check last season. “Anytime you can give the guys running the series fulltime a little added incentive, nobody’s going to argue with that.”

Dillon is also repeating an appearance in the promotion, and he agreed with Smith’s sentiments. “It’s a huge added bonus for everybody. Like [Smith] said, for us guys who run [the NASCAR XFINITY Series] full time and who run it for the points all year, it’s a really cool program.”

The other two contenders—Wallace and Suarez—are entering the Dash4Cash battle in their rookie seasons. Both drivers are hoping the first track on the schedule plays into their strengths.

“[Dover International Speedway] has been a very successful track for me. I wish they would pay for getting the pole there,” Wallace joked, alluding to his ability to qualify well at the short track. “I’m glad to be one of the four. We just have to keep playing smart and put ourselves in that position next week to come out on top.”

Suarez, who has found success at Dover in other series, stated, “I feel good [about Dover], I feel like we’re really good so far. I’m looking forward to next week. Thank you to all in the NASCAR XFINITY Series for putting this program together.”

Three of the four eligible for the $100,000 have some experience at the Delaware track, but Smith stands out as the veteran. The JR Motorsports driver is feeling some pressure.

“From my team’s standpoint, I think we have to work the same way we have been every week. Dover has not been a good racetrack for me since I’ve been at JRM, so [my team and I] highlighted that one when we were planning weeks ahead and areas we need to work on. I just haven’t been able to communicate what I want the car to do to the crew chiefs.”

On the other hand, Dillon, Wallace, and Suarez aren’t too worried about the extra incentive.

Dillon said, “As far as me, [my team and I] prepare every weekend to win the race. I think that, if you do that, you’ll win the Dash4Cash.”

After the series visits Dover, the program picks up at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway and ends with the race at Darlington Raceway. The tracks vary slightly from last year’s format, something the young Richard Childress Racing driver is happy to see.

“I’m glad Indianapolis is back on [the schedule],” said Dillon, who won the Dash4Cash event at the Indiana track in 2014.

Although two former contest winners are in contention, anyone has a chance to win the prize money at Dover International Speedway.

Kristen Schneider is a POPULAR SPEED Development Journalist

EMAIL KRISTEN AT kristen.schneider@popularspeed.com

Categories
XFINITY

Trevor Bayne & James Dennis Each Win $100,000 In The Dash 4 Cash Finale

By Unique Hiram (NEWTON, Iowa.) – @TBayne21 (Trevor Bayne) won the final round of the NASCAR Nationwide Dash 4 Cash competition, taking home an extra $100,000. He also helped Henry, IL resident James Dennis increase his income by that same amount at the conclusion of the U.S. Cellular 250 Presented By New Holland at Iowa Speedway.

“I really appreciate Nationwide Insurance giving us this chance to battle for something else. When you are running third or fourth, if a Cup guy is leading then it creates that extra little bit of adrenaline when you got all the blue spoilers all around you on that last green, white, checkered. Great weekend for our team and hopefully we can build on this.”

The 2011 Daytona 500 champion was asked his thoughts about the new title sponsor, in 2015, offering a similar type of program in the future.

“I think it was really innovative for them to come up with this program. Fans want to see a battle between Nationwide drivers week-to-week and any kind of incentives like that I think are really cool. Obviously, we have the championship to battle for but I think that week-to-week battles are awesome. We don’t mind it a bit because it’s extra money that you have the chance to win,” said Bayne.

“I think it would be important to try to come up with some kind of incentive program like this for fans. So I’m definitely a supporter of it and fortunately we won the last one ever I guess for now unless we can talk them in to come back for Dash4Cash – at least next year,” he added.

Asked what he was going to do with his earnings, Dash 4 Cash Fan Winner James Dennis quickly responded, “it’s all going in the bank.”

“I’ve got to wait for the check to clear so that way I know it’s real,” he laughed. “I will maybe invest some of it and just sit on it. I don’t really have any extravagant plans to go out and purchase any expense thing or anything. I’m going to play it conservative.”

EMAIL UNIQUE AT unique.hiram@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER @UniqueHiram