Amanda Vincent, NASCAR Correspondent
As the NASCAR Nationwide Series heads to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for Saturday's F.W. Webb 200, four teams and their drivers are racing for a little extra -- $100,000 extra, to be exact. Two Richard Childress Racing teammates, Elliott Sadler in the No. 2 Chevrolet and Austin Dillon in the No. 3 Chevy; Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford and Michael Annett in the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford were the four highest-finishing Nationwide championship-eligible drivers in last weekend's race at Daytona International Speedway. And for that reason, those four drivers will be racing for an extra $100,000 as part of title sponsor Nationwide Insurance's Dash 4 Cash program. The highest-finishing of the four will take the bonus.
Throw in a possible 2012 Nationwide Series championship, and that gives at least a couple of the aforementioned drivers even more to race for. Sadler, Dillon and Stenhouse are the top-three drivers in the championship points standings, with Sadler and Dillon seemingly trying to pull away from the back to make it an RCR duel for the title.
It has been a good track statistically for me, and it is all about track position there.
Sadler has the lead, and despite a few points penalties for recent rules infractions, Dillon is just eight points back in second. Stenhouse isn't all that far back, himself, 18 points behind leader Sadler, despite a string of poor finishes as of late.
Of the top-three in points, Sadler has the most experience racing at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in a Nationwide car. He has eight starts there, posting a single top-five finish. It may also be worth mentioning that Sadler has more than 20 Loudon starts in the Sprint Cup Series under his belt.
"I always like heading up to Loudon for the event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway," Sadler said. "It has been a good track statistically for me, and it is all about track position there."
His teammate is at the other end of the New Hampshire Motor Speedway experience spectrum. Dillon only has one New Hampshire Nationwide race on his resume. Although, he wound up finishing outside the top-20 because of late race pit road penalties, Dillon did run near the top-10 for much of the race.
"In the one Nationwide Series race I have run at Loudon, our team had a great run going but we dropped the jack on pit road so that is what hurt our race there," Dillon said. "I can't wait to get to New Hampshire Motor Speedway because the track is on my list of top-three favorite tracks."
He did fare much better at the track last year in Camping World Truck Series competition, finishing second.
"We've run really well in the Truck Series at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the past, and I think that experience will definitely help us," Dillon said. "Last year we had a truck capable of winning. We ran behind or beside Kyle Busch the whole race. We raced under him a few times. I learned a lot from racing at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and hopefully we can use that experience to our advantage this weekend."
Stenhouse's time in a Nationwide car at NHMS is also somewhat limited. He only has two previous starts at the track, but in that short amount of time, he has equaled Sadler's top-five total of one.
"Last year we had a solid fourth place finish and led some laps" Stenhouse said. "This track is unique which makes it challenging but I am looking forward to it."
Qualifying for the F.W. Webb 200 is set to get underway at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday, with the race scheduled to take the green flag shortly after 3 p.m. ET the same day.