By: Amanda Vincent, NASCAR Correspondent
- Sorenson won Dash4Cash bonus at Daytona
- Allgaier, Leffler & Annett are eligible at Iowa
- Stenhouse Jr is series points leader
Dash4Cash Nationwide program picks back up in Iowa
The U.S. Cellular 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Iowa Speedway on Saturday will be the second race in series sponsor Nationwide Insurance’s 2011 Dash 4 Cash program. The Dash4Cash program awards $100,000 to the highest finisher among the four drivers eligible in each race that is a part of the program. The four drivers in each Dash race are the bonus winner in the previous Dash Race and the top-three finishers among series championship-eligible drivers in that previous race.
we have some unfinished business to take care of at the track.
Based on their race finishes at Daytona International Speedway in July, three Turner Motorsports Chevrolet drivers -- Justin Allgaier in the No. 31, Reed Sorenson in the No. 32 and Jason Leffler in the No. 38 -- and Michael Annett, driver of the No. 62 Rusty Wallace Racing Toyota, are eligible for the $100,000 bonus in Saturday’s Iowa race. Sorenson claimed the $100,000 bonus at Daytona.
“I think it’s cool, too, that the second Dash4Cash race is at a short track this time, as opposed to it being at a track like Daytona,” Sorenson said. “You never know what kind of beating and banging will go on during a Saturday night short track race, especially with that kind of cash on the line.”
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the No. 6 Ford for Roush Fenway Racing, is not eligible, despite being the Nationwide Series points leader and the most recent race winner in series competition at Iowa Speedway. Stenhouse may not be eligible for the $100,000 bonus this weekend, but he is in a tight battle with at least one driver who is -- Sorenson. Stenhouse is just three points ahead of Sorenson.
The No. 6 team may have visited victory lane back in May, but they’re still taking a new car for this visit, none the less.
“We’re taking a new car, so I’m excited about that with a new body with new updates on it,” Stenhouse said. “Hopefully, we’ll be faster than what we were last time. We’d like to lead a lot of laps and win, hopefully.”
This weekend’s race will not only be a chance to nab $100,000, but it will also be a homecoming, of sorts, for Des Moines native Annett. He finished outside the top-10 in 13th spot when the series visited Iowa Speedway in May, but posted a top-10 finish there last year, finishing seventh.
Annett has been rebounding from a shaky start to the 2011 race season since a crew chief change that paired the driver with Rick Viers. Since Viers climbed atop Annett’s No. 62 pit box, Annett has improved his average finish to 12.4 and worked his way into the top-10 in points.
Annett is hoping the upswing in his season continues as the series heads into his home state.
“There are a lot of elements that make this week special, including Nationwide Insurance’s bonus incentive,” Annett said. “We’re racing on my home track, a track that was designed by my team owner, Rusty Wallace, and we’ve really been on top of our game with four top-10s in the last six races. Winning the Dash4Cash bonus on my home track would just be the icing on the cake.”
Allgaier and Sorenson are the only two of the four Dash4Cash bonus-eligible drivers in Iowa who have wins to their credit so far in 2011. Allgaier visited victory lane at Chicagoland Speedway, in his home state of Illinois, and Sorenson was victorious at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.
In the race at Iowa earlier this season, Sorenson finished fourth, and Allgaier was also in the top-10 with an eighth-place finish.
“I’m excited that we have a second chance to run at Iowa this year,” Sorenson said. I guess I feel that we have some unfinished business to take care of at the track. We ran so well there in May and definitely had a chance to win the race, had it not been for that tire issue.”
Leffler heads into Saturday’s race as the driver among the four with the poorest finish when the Nationwide series last raced at Iowa. He finished 33rd in May.
The U.S. Cellular 250 is scheduled to take the green flag at approximately 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday. It will air live on ESPN2, with television coverage scheduled for a 7 p.m. ET start.