NASCAR Increases Post-Season Prize Money at NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series Tracks. $1.7 Million NASCAR Championship Point Fund is Largest in Short Track Racing DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 14, 2004) -- NASCAR, Dodge and participating sponsors will...
NASCAR Increases Post-Season Prize Money at NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series
$1.7 Million NASCAR Championship Point Fund is Largest in Short Track Racing
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 14, 2004) -- NASCAR, Dodge and participating sponsors will once again distribute the largest championship point fund for any short track racing series in North America. $1.7 million in post-season awards will be shared by the top teams and drivers in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series, NASCAR's championship series for weekly short track competitors.
For the first time in several years, NASCAR has increased the portion of this point fund that is paid out as local track awards. This new approach is designed to benefit the hundreds of drivers who compete in the series, while maintaining the prize money and prestige of the regional championships. Local track awards, presented by NASCAR and POWERade, now amount to $3,500 per track and will be shared by the top 10 drivers in each track's feature division. In 2003, this amount was $2,000 per track and was paid only to the top five drivers.
"The NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series continues to be the leader in weekly short track competition," said Chris Boals, director of the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series. "This year's point fund is another example of NASCAR's commitment to this important series. Every year, the quality of competition, race track management and sponsorship continues to rise in this series and we are proud to offer these awards to the best weekly racers in North America.
"The increase in the local track awards is, we believe, a very important aspect of this series. Whether they are in contention for a regional championship or not, these are the drivers who make their hometown speedways come alive with excitement. It's important to provide opportunities for more and more competitors to share in the prize money at the end of a hard-fought racing season," said Boals.
Boals' reference to North America reflects the new reality in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series -- it's now an international series with two race tracks in Canada. Delaware Speedway in Ontario and Autodrome St. Eustache in Quebec became the first Canadian tracks to join the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series in October 2003. Drivers at more than 60 race tracks will compete for the awards each week until the season concludes September 19.
Whether in Canada or the United States, drivers in the feature division at each participating track are eligible for NASCAR's regional championship awards. Race results from each track are entered into the NASCAR Competition Performance Index (CPI), which establishes a regional ranking of drivers based on each driver's statistics (including wins, top-five finishes, starts and the number of cars in the starting field). Feature divisions can vary between tracks, and include Late Model Stock Cars, Modifieds, Dirt Late Models, Super Stocks, Late Model Sportsman and other classes of cars.
Tracks are grouped into eight geographic regions (with up to nine tracks per region) and at the end of the season, the drivers with the highest CPI in each region are declared regional champions. In 2004, each regional champion can receive up to $45,000 in post-season awards. The total payout to the top nine drivers in each region is over $137,000.
Regional championship awards are provided by NASCAR and series' sponsors Dodge, 3M, Accel, Bell Racing, Centrix, Cintas, Clevite, Comp Cams, Corteco, Edlebrock, Goodyear, Hoosier, Holley, JE Pistons, Lincoln Electric, Mechanix Wear, Mobil 1, Moroso, POWERade, Sonic Racing Products, USG, Waste Management and Whelen Engineering. This roster of companies includes six new sponsors in 2004.
$125 K to Series Champion...
An overall series champion is determined by comparing the racing records of the eight regional champions. This driver with the best results among the eight regional champions wins the series' championship and is eligible for additional bonuses of $125,000, bringing the overall NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series champion's prize to $170,000.
Bonus Bucks for Dodge Drivers...
To boost the participation of Dodge drivers across the country, Dodge is putting more prize money up for grabs each weekend. If a driver in a Dodge vehicle wins a feature race, in a track's feature division, they can win a $100 bonus -- each time they win. In any other NASCAR-sanctioned class, a feature win with a Dodge car is worth an additional $50.
If a driver wins the overall series' championship in a Dodge car -- as Mark McFarland did in 2003 -- they could receive a $25,000 bonus. The highest-finishing eligible Dodge driver in each region will receive a $2,500 bonus. If a driver wins a 2004 regional championship while driving a Dodge vehicle, they'll get an opportunity to drive in a "Test and Tune" session with one of Dodge's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series teams. Drivers must use a genuine Dodge engine and body throughout the 2004 season to be eligible for these awards.
McFarland, of Winchester, Va., took full advantage of Dodge's incentives last season. McFarland raced two nights per week at two NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series speedways, and proceeded to win both track titles and the 2003 NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series championship using a Dodge Intrepid Late Model Stock Car. He collected an extra $27,500 from the manufacturer for that accomplishment.
McFarland received an additional $16,000 for finishing fourth in the series' Southeastern Coastal Region standings. (He earned the second regional award for his performance at Southampton Motor Speedway in Capron, Va., where he competed on Friday nights in addition to his Saturday schedule at Old Dominion Speedway in Manassas, Va.) Along with his prize of $170,000 as the series champion, the bonus awards pushed his post-season winnings to $213,500, a NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series record.
Short trackers Score in ShorTrack Division...
Along with a premier "feature" division, each NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series track designates a class of cars to participate in the ShorTrack Division, a regional championship program for support division racers.
Support classes such as Modifieds, Sportsman, Street Stocks, Limited Late Models and Hobby Stocks will once again be eligible for regional championship awards, just like their counterparts in the feature division classes at each track. ShorTrack Division regional championships are determined using the same CPI formula as the feature division and ShorTrack Division regional winners can each receive up to $2,500 in post-season awards. The overall ShorTrack Division champion will collect an additional $10,000, courtesy of Connecticut-based Whelen Engineering, a NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series sponsor since 2001. ShorTrack Division track champions will also receive a $1,000 bonus.
Todd Burns, of Riverside, Calif., won the 2003 ShorTrack Division championship while competing at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway. Burns, who recorded 10 wins and 15 top-five finishes to claim the award, has stepped up his racing program. Burns is now competing for the Auto Meter rookie of the year award on the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series.
Mechanics, Car Owners & Crew Chiefs Recognized With Special Awards...
Drivers aren't the only ones to share in the $1.7 million NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series point fund. A large number of NASCAR Members are crew members or mechanics and NASCAR and its sponsors have several special awards to recognize this important group -- those who help put the cars on the track each weekend.
Craftsman, the Official Tools of NASCAR, will once again sponsor the Mechanic of the Year awards, which recognize mechanics and crew members at each track. These awards, which include $1,500 cash and a $2,000 credit towards the purchase of Craftsman Tools to eight regional winners, are determined by a vote of NASCAR Members. NASCAR has recognized Weekly Series crew members and mechanics with these awards each year since 1986.
For the third consecutive year, Lincoln Electric will present $5,000 and a Lincoln Electric welder to the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series champion car owner. Lunati Cams will continue to honor the regional championship crew chiefs with their awards, which include $2,500 bonuses to each of the 2004 regional championship crew chiefs and an additional $5,000 bonus to the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series championship crew chief.