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Xfinity Dash 4 Cash program gets underway at Bristol

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Someone’s pockets will get a little bit deeper Saturday afternoon at Bristol Motor Speedway.

The Xfinity Series’ Alsco 300 will pit 37 cars against each other for the win. But there will be a race within the race during the 300-lap event that ends with someone winning $100,000.

The race is the opening round of the annual four-race Dash 4 Cash program.

Each race sees four drivers compete for the $100K bonus. Those drivers are determined by the highest-placing series regulars in the previous race.

The lineup for Bristol – Tyler Reddick, Michael Annett, Chase Briscoe and Christopher Bell — was determined the same way last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.

To top it off, no drivers who are earning points in the Cup Series are permitted to compete in the fours races, which will be held at Bristol, Richmond Raceway (April 12), Talladega Superspeedway (April 27) and Dover International Speedway (May 4).

Here’s at look at each driver’s season so far and how they’ve fared at Bristol in the past.

Chase Briscoe – Stewart-Haas Racing’s No. 98 Ford

Briscoe has 23 Xfinity starts under his belt, yet he’s still classified as a rookie this year.

He’s earned two top fives this season (one in 2018) and four top 10s (four in 2018).

Saturday’s race marks his third Xfinity start at Bristol and first time competing in the Dash 4 Cash. The $100,000 is “definitely the most money” Briscoe has ever competed for.

“We’re racing three other guys and we don’t even have to win the race to win that bonus,” Briscoe said Wednesday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “The Morning Drive.” “You can’t let your emotions get the best of you early in the race because you’ve got to be there at the end. More than likely you’re going to have to win the race to win the Dash 4 Cash, but there’s that chance where you might finish 25th and the other three guys all wreck and you win the bonus.

“But you got to be there and you got to be running at the end to have a chance. You have to keep your composure and it’s so easy to lose it at Bristol. If you’re in a good race car you can normally overcome getting knocked out of the way in a corner.”

Briscoe will attempt to better his two Bristol results from last year of 23rd and 34th (wreck).

Michael Annett – JR Motorsports No. 1 Chevrolet

Michael Annett has a lot to smile about.

The veteran of 235 Xfinity races is off to the best start of his Xfinity career five races after he earned his first win at Daytona.

Revitalized in part by new crew chief Travis Mack, Annett has two top fives, his most since 2012 and four top 10s, which bests his 2018 total by one. He also has an average finish of 7.5 through six races, which trails only Reddick among series regulars.

“I have one of those $100,000 checks from 2012 (at Indianapolis), and sure would like another one to keep it company,” Annett said in a media release. “Having a chance at $100,000 is amazing, and to have it happen at Bristol is even better. We were seventh there in the fall … and that was the first top-10 finish we had with Travis Mack as crew chief. There’s a lot of good momentum for our team right now, and winning that Dash 4 Cash prize would add a bunch to that.”

Tyler Reddick – Richard Childress Racing’s No. 2 Chevrolet

After a late push in 2018 that ended with him winning the Xfinity title, Reddick is doing a good job of backing it up this year.

Reddick leads the point standings despite not earning a win through six races. He has a series-leading four top fives, five top 10s and an average finish of 6.2.

Now he takes that momentum to the high-banks of Bristol, where he has three series starts. His best finish was seventh in this race last year.

“It’s one of my most challenging tracks,” Reddick said in a media release. “Last year, I finished well but those races are just so tough. Hopefully, this year, my crew chief Randall Burnett and the team can help me have a better balance throughout the weekend. It’s tough because if your car isn’t great at Bristol, you can struggle a lot with the constant traffic you’re in while racing around.

“You really have no time to recover if you make a mistake, especially since you spend more time in the corners of the track rather than the straightaways. If things don’t go right, it can make for a long day, but with how we’ve been running lately I have faith our No. 2 Dolly Parton Chevrolet Camaro will be fast right off the hauler.”

Christopher Bell – Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20 Toyota.

Bell enters Saturday’s race participating in his third Dash 4 Cash.

He looks to follow-up Ryan Preece‘s winning effort in this race last year for Joe Gibbs Racing to win the $100,000 bonus.

Bell, who has four starts in “Thunder Valley” across the Xfinity and Truck Series is still seeking his first win at one of his favorite tracks. A win on Saturday would give him two on the season.

“Bristol is P1 or P2 on my favorite tracks list, that’s for sure,” Bell said in a media release. “It’s so much fun because the track is so fast, it’s so small and you have to deal with lapped traffic. You really have to think your way around Bristol and it’s an attack place, you can’t just cruise around there, which makes it a lot of fun.  I’m really excited to get back there.”

Kaz Grala subs for Natalie Decker in Talladega Truck race

Kaz Grala
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Natalie Decker has not been medically cleared to compete in Saturday’s Truck Series race at Talladega (1 p.m. ET on FS1) and will be replaced by Kaz Grala in Niece Motorsports’ No. 44 Chevrolet the team announced Thursday.

Decker withdrew from last weekend’s race at Las Vegas after she was not medically cleared shortly before the race. She was credited with a last-place finish.

Decker tweeted Saturday that she was flying home where “more tests (would be) run so they can further evaluate and diagnose.”

No further details about Decker’s condition have been announced.

“We are thankful that Kaz is able to fill in for Natalie this weekend and appreciate him working with our team,” team general manager Cody Efaw said in a press release. “We wish Natalie the best as she works to be as healthy as possible to return to racing.”

Grala will make his first Truck Series start since 2017. He has 32 career starts in the series, including one win in the 2017 season-opening race at Daytona.

He drove in Austin Dillon’s place earlier this year in the Cup race on the Daytona road course after Dillon tested positive for COVID-19.

“My thoughts will be with Natalie this weekend as I wish her a quick recovery,” Grala said in a press release. “I know she loves the restrictor-plate races, so I feel bad that she’ll have to miss this one, but I hope I can give her something to cheer for on Saturday. 

“It’s been a few years since I’ve been in a Truck, but the superspeedway races have been very good to me in the past, so I’m really hoping to be able to go grab a win for Niece Motorsports at Talladega.”

FanVision closes due to impact of COVID-19 pandemic

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FanVision Entertainment, the company that produces video devices used by race fans at NASCAR events, has ceased operations due to the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The news was announced in a statement from Racing Electronics, the company which sold and supported FanVision devices at NASCAR tracks through a license with FanVision Entertainment.

Racing Electronics, which is owned by NASCAR, can no longer sell or support the devices.

“We recognize this news will be met with disappointment by motorsports fans across the country who utilized FanVision’s products as part of their at-track experience,” Racing Electronics president Chad Willis said in a statement.

“To help fans and industry members transition to Racing Electronics products, we are working with existing FanVision device owners to solve their race day needs. When Racing Electronics returns to the track, fans and industry members will have access to all the sounds that make racing so special.”

RCR, Hendrick to collaborate on Chevy engine

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Hendrick Motorsports and Richard Childress Racing will team up on research and development of a common Chevrolet engine after the conclusion of the 2020 season, the teams announced Thursday.

The two organizations will continue to function independently as they “fully leverage the knowledge and intellectual property of our two successful programs to advance Chevrolet’s engine for NASCAR,” they said in a joint statement.

Engines produced by Hendrick Motorsports and Richard Childress Racing (via ECR Engines) have earned a combined 20 Cup titles and the two teams have totaled 369 Cup wins.

Jeff Andrews, the new executive vice president at Hendrick Motorsports, told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “The Morning Drive” Thursday that discussions about the venture between his team and RCR began two years ago.

“The day was going to come when we really needed to figure out how to get these two programs together,” Andrews said. “A tremendous amount of talent, people and a tremendous amount of equipment and resources between the two programs. How could we do this? How could we take the longstanding heritage between these two companies and get that together to start working on an alliance that truly would produce the ultimate powertrain for Chevrolet NASCAR?”

RCR is headquartered in Welcome, North Carolina and Hendrick’s campus is in Concord, North Carolina.

“I think when you step back and look at it, ultimately you have to get to a point to where, when you have these resources and you have these people, we have to do what’s best for Chevrolet, first and foremost, to continue to push their performance and get them back to the front of the field and get them wins and championships,” Andrews said. “Really, we work together in a very similar fashion. We started two years ago on the aerodynamic side with our groups working very close together and we’re kind of taking somewhat of that template and applying to the engine side in starting this joint alliance.”

Chevrolet last won a Cup title in 2016 when Jimmie Johnson earned his record-tying seventh championship. Since then, Chevy has not had a car reach the championship four.

The Cup Series is in the middle of the Round of 12. The series races Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway (2 p.m. ET on NBC).

Of the 12 cars that remain, four are Chevrolets: Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon, Hendrick Motorsports’ Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman and Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kurt Busch.

Chevrolet cars have won six times through 30 races this season. That’s compared to seven wins in all of 2019, four in 2018 and and 10 in 2017.

NASCAR weekend schedule for Talladega

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The NASCAR playoffs roll on this weekend to Talladega Superspeedway.

All three national series will be racing on NASCAR’s largest oval. The weekend will be capped off by the Cup Series’ Round of 12 race.

More: Denny Hamlin on pole for Cup race at Talladega

MORE: 2021 Cup schedule features new tracks, bold changes 

Here is the weekend schedule for Talladega:

(All times Eastern)

Friday, Oct. 2

Noon – 2 p.m. – Driver motorhome parking (screening in progress)

1 – 3 p.m. – Truck Series haulers enter (screening and equipment unload)

3 – 9 p.m. – Truck Series garage open

3 – 8 p.m. – Truck Series garage access screening

3:30 – 4 p.m. – Truck Series rookie meeting (teleconference)

5:30 p.m. – Xfinity rookie meeting (teleconference)

6 p.m. – Xfinity driver-crew chief meeting

8:30 – 10:30 p.m. – Xfinity haulers enter (screening in progress)

 

Saturday, Oct. 3

7:30 a.m. – Xfinity garage opens

7:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. – Xfinity garage access (screening in progress)

10 a.m. – Truck Series garage opens

10 a.m. – Noon – Truck Series garage access (screening in progress)

12:45 p.m. – Truck Series drivers report to vehicles

1 p.m. – Truck Series race; 94 laps/250.04 miles (FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

4 p.m. – Truck Series haulers exit

4:05 p.m. – Xfinity drivers report to cars

4:30 p.m. – Xfinity race; 113 laps/300.58 miles (NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

5:30 p.m. – Cup rookie meeting (electronic communication)

6 p.m. – Cup driver-crew chief meeting (electronic communication)

7:30 p.m. – Xfinity haulers exit

8:30 – 10:30 p.m. – Cup haulers enter (screening in progress and equipment unload)

 

Sunday, Oct. 4

7 a.m. – Cup garage opens

7 a.m. – 1 p.m. – Cup garage access screening in progress

1:30 p.m. – Cup drivers report to cars

1:30 p.m. – Driver introductions

2 p.m. – Cup race; 188 laps/500 miles (NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

6:30 p.m. – Cup haulers exit