NASCAR

XFINITY Dash 4 Cash events add heat races; Caution Clock introduced for Truck Series


NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell announced today several racing-related innovations to the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, beginning with the 2016 season, designed to ignite and energize the growth of each series.

In the NASCAR XFINITY Series, where “Names Are Made,” each event in the popular Dash 4 Cash program now will be comprised of Two Heats and a Main. Drivers who win two of the four Dash 4 Cash bonuses available also are all but guaranteed a spot in the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase.

In addition, the rugged NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races now will feature a Caution Clock, which will be triggered at the start of each green-flag run. When the green flag is displayed, 20 minutes will be placed on the clock. If/when the clock expires, a caution will be thrown.

“These innovations contain the elements of racing that our fans want the most,” said O’Donnell. “The enhancements put a premium on in-race strategy, and will create an unprecedented level of excitement as teams make tactical decisions that could impact their spot in the Chase.”

NASCAR XFINITY SERIES DASH 4 CASH
The NASCAR XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash will be comprised of Two Heats and a Main at four tracks: Bristol Motor Speedway (April 16), Richmond International Raceway (April 23), Dover International Speedway (May 14) and Indianapolis Motor Speedway (July 23).

Qualifying for each Dash 4 Cash event will set the 40-car field and the starting positions for the Two Heats with the fastest qualifier awarded the Coors Light Pole Award. Odd-numbered qualifiers (1st, 3rd, 5th, etc.) will start in the first Heat in respective order, while even-numbered qualifiers (2nd, 4th, 6th, etc.) will start the second Heat in respective order.

The Two Heats will set the starting positions for the Main with the top two NASCAR XFINITY Series regulars in each Heat becoming eligible for the Dash 4 Cash bonus. The highest finishing driver among the four Dash 4 Cash eligible drivers will be awarded a $100,000 bonus. If any driver wins two of the four Dash 4 Cash bonuses available, he/she is all but guaranteed a spot in the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase. In short, two Dash 4 Cash bonuses are equivalent to one race win in the new NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase format.

Drivers must have declared to earn NASCAR XFINITY Series points in order to be eligible for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash bonus.

NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES CAUTION CLOCK
A Caution Clock will be utilized in each NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event (except for Eldora Speedway). The clock will be set to 20 minutes and triggered at the start of each green-flag run during race events. When the clock counts down to zero, a caution flag then will be displayed and no beneficiary will be awarded. A caution occurring before time expires resets the clock when the subsequent green flag is displayed and the first truck a lap down will be the beneficiary.

The caution clock will be turned off with 20 laps to go at all events in the series, with the exception of Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Pocono Raceway, where the clock will be turned off with 10 laps remaining.

-- Press release courtesy of NASCAR

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NASCAR expands Chase format to Xfinity, Truck series

Using the overwhelming success of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup format introduced in 2014 as a guidepost, NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France announced today the implementation of a playoff system in both the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

On the heels of a 2015 Chase that saw the highest season-finale viewership in nearly a decade, record-breaking page views on NASCAR.com and unparalleled volume on social media, the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will each feature a seven-race Chase to decide its respective championships starting in 2016. The announcement was the first of a number of racing innovations presented by NASCAR on Tuesday.

“Fans, partners and the industry have embraced the new Chase format like nothing we’ve seen in the sport’s history,” said France. “Winning never has been this important, and the excitement generated the past two seasons in the Sprint Cup Series has led to this implementation of the Chase format in all three national series. Competition in both the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will undoubtedly elevate to new heights and shine a spotlight on the rising stars of our sport.”

The NASCAR XFINITY Series, where “Names Are Made,” and the rugged NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will implement seven-race, three-round Chase formats with unique characteristics but very much in the same spirit of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. All three series will conclude the Chase with a Championship 4 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway to crown a champion. However, all three will begin at different tracks: Chicago (Sprint Cup Series), Kentucky (XFINITY Series) and New Hampshire (Camping World Truck Series)

Drivers still must declare a series in which they will earn points, and will only be eligible to compete for a championship in that series. The 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers who qualified for the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup will be ineligible to compete in the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship 4 races at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

NASCAR XFINITY SERIES CHASE
The seven-race NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase will begin at Kentucky Speedway on Sept. 24, and feature 12 drivers and two elimination rounds, with four drivers competing in the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

A win in the first 26 races all but guarantees a driver entry into the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase, provided the driver is in the top 30 in points and has attempted to qualify for each race. Drivers who win two Dash 4 Cash bonuses are also all but guaranteed a Chase berth.

The first round, called the Round of 12, consists of the races at Kentucky, Dover and Charlotte. All drivers will start with their points adjusted to 2,000, with three additional bonus points added to their total for each win in the first 26 races. If a driver wins a race in the Round of 12, the driver automatically advances to the next round. The remaining available positions (1-8) that have not been filled by wins will be filled on points.
Each driver who advances to the Round of 8 (Kansas, Texas, Phoenix) then will have their points reset to 3,000. Drivers who win a race in the Round of 8 automatically advance to the Championship 4. The remaining available positions (1-4) that have not been filled by wins will be filled on points.

The four drivers who advance to the Championship 4 at Homestead will have their points reset to 4,000. The highest finishing Championship 4 driver will be crowned the NASCAR XFINITY Series champion.

NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES CHASE

The seven-race NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase will begin at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sept. 24. It will feature eight drivers and two elimination rounds, with four drivers competing in the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. A win in the first 16 races all but guarantees a driver entry into the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase, provided that the driver is in the Top 30 in points and has attempted to qualify for each race.

The first round, called the Round of 8, consists of the races at New Hampshire, Las Vegas, and Talladega. All drivers will have their points adjusted to 2,000, with three additional bonus points added to their total for each win in the first 16 races. If a driver wins a race in the Round of 8, the driver automatically advances to the next round. The remaining available positions (1-6) that have not been filled by wins will be filled on points.

Each driver who advances to the Round of 6 (Martinsville, Texas, Phoenix) then will have their points reset to 3,000. Drivers who win a race in the Round of 6 automatically advance to the Championship 4. The remaining available positions (1-4) that have not been filled by wins will be filled on points.

The four drivers who advance to the Championship 4 at Homestead will have their points reset to 4,000. The highest finishing Championship 4 driver will win the championship. All rules outlined above also apply to both series’ owner championship structure.

The 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular season will kick off with the 58th running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 21 at Daytona International Speedway. The Great American Race® will be broadcast live on FOX, Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, with additional coverage on NASCAR.com.

-- Press release courtesy of NASCAR

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Jimmie Johnson Foundation announces third annual Wellness Challenge

Six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson and his wife, Chandra announced today that the Jimmie Johnson Foundation (JJF) Wellness Challenge, presented by Penn Mutual, will return in 2016.

The JJF Wellness Challenge is a series of four athletic events that attract a wide range of participants, from beginners to advance. Three of the four events are located in and around Charlotte, North Carolina. New to the JJF Wellness Challenge in 2016 is the “JJF Virtual Triathlon” an event that allows anyone living in the United States to participate by registering and completing 2.4 miles swim, 112 miles bike and 26.2 miles run (in their own time), during the month of October.

“This marks the 10th anniversary of the Foundation and during that time, we have supported some great projects and non-profit organizations,” said Johnson, co-founder of the Jimmie Johnson Foundation. “The JJF Wellness Challenge is one of the many ways we raise money for programs that support public education.”

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VIP experience with Danica Patrick, Tony Stewart offered via TaxAct sweepstakes

As Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) prepares for the start of the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, TaxAct, the official tax preparation software partner of SHR and driver Danica Patrick, has launched the Race to Your Refund Sweepstakes. Race fans can now enter the Race to Your Refund Sweepstakes for a chance to win a number of prizes, including an exclusive 2017 VIP Daytona race experience featuring Patrick and SHR co-owner Tony Stewart.

“TaxAct does a great job of engaging NASCAR fans and the Race to Your Refund program is another strong example of their efforts,” Patrick said. “The sweepstakes provides an opportunity for our fans to have some fun and connect with TaxAct, all while helping them to get the best deal when they file their own income tax return.”

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NASCAR's Hall of Fame welcomes fans for free on Saturday, Jan. 23

For the third consecutive year, the NASCAR Hall of Fame will open its doors for free for NASCAR Fan Appreciation Day.

On Saturday, Jan. 23, fans will have free access to the Hall for a full day of activities, including autographs and Q&A sessions with current drivers and NASCAR Hall of Famers. Fans will be admitted into the Hall on a first-come, first-served basis in lieu of needing a ticket.

However, tickets to the below autograph sessions, highlighted by 13-time Sprint NMPA Most Popular Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. must be secured in advance. Vouchers for these autograph sessions will be available for free on NASCARHall.com starting at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 16. Each fan can secure up to two autograph session vouchers.

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Ryan Blaney finishes seventh at Kansas for second Top 10 of season

Ryan Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion turned in their second strong performance in as many weeks with a seventh-place finish at the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway. It was the rookie driver’s second top 10 and fourth top 15 finish of the season.

The Wood Brothers’ famous No. 21 followed last weekend’s 14th-place showing by qualifying eighth for the Kansas race.

Starting from that eighth spot, Blaney ran in the top 10 for most of the 267-laps, leading the race on laps 215-219. He dropped only as far back as 17th at lap 158.

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Image courtesy of NASCAR

NASCAR announced today the base NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rules package to be used during the 2016 season. The package was delivered to teams after an extensive collaborative process between NASCAR and industry stakeholders.

 

The base package will include a 3.5-inch spoiler, a 0.25-inch front leading splitter edge and a 33-inch wide radiator pan. These components will provide lower downforce on the cars, and Goodyear will develop tires to complement them. Earlier this season, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Kentucky Speedway and Darlington Raceway featured a similar aero package.

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Tony Stewart is seen during qualifying at Michigan in August 2015.

"It's never gonna happen."
If you had told me a few years ago that NASCAR's Tony Stewart would be retired from the Sprint Cup series career as soon as 2017, that would have been my response.

Tony Stewart loves racing more than anything, I would have said, and he will be here as long as he can compete -- possibly longer.
But of course, that's not the case. On Wednesday, Stewart is expected to announce that he will be competing in his final season in the Cup series in 2016, with Clint Bowyer expected to take over behind the wheel of the 14 car starting in 2017 (no 2016 stopover destination for Bowyer has yet been announced).

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