(WTVR) - NASCAR announced on Tuesday they are re-working their Dash For Cash format in the Xfinity Series, and Richmond International Raceway will host one of the four events planned for the 2016 season.
The racing format will now include standard qualifying, then two heat races totaling 35 laps each, which will set the field for a 140 lap feature event, similar to what is run weekly at Late Model and lower series events. The top 4 finishers that are Xfinity series regulars will race each other, and the rest of the field, in the 140 lap feature race for a $100,000 bonus. Drivers that normally compete in the Sprint Cup series but may also be entered in the Xfinity event are not eligible.
"Xfinity wanted a different format for the Dash For Cash" said Xfinity Series Director Wayne Auton. "The owners and the drivers wanted something a little different. We saw the hype that the Dash For Cash brings to the series. We just felt it would be nice if we could come up with something a little bit different."
"I'm excited to see what it brings" said Xfinity Series driver Erik Jones who won the Camping World Truck Series championship last year. "I think it's going to be really cool for the fans and everybody to watch, and be a unique thing that we can advertise for our sport."
RIR is hoping to reap the benefits of that uniqueness on a day that typically does not draw huge crowds to the track. They are already altering their format by running during the day for both of their spring races, and this change will give fans even more racing in one single day.
"You're going to get three different races, technically, for the Toyota Care 250 plus qualifying all in the same day" said Aimee Turner, RIR's Director of Communication. "We could potentially have two different winners. We could have a race winner that goes to Victory Lane, and we could have a Dash For Cash winner that gets presented the check."
Another perk to the program is that if a driver wins two of the four Dash For Cash events, they automatically qualify for the new Chase format in the Xfinity Series, which will begin this year and is modeled after the knockout Chase format that worked so well in the Sprint Cup Series last year. Instead of 16 drivers making the playoffs, 12 drivers will make the Xfinity format and be whittled down to a final four at Homestead to settle the championship between them.
"We know that the way to win in the future, you've got to beat people" said NASCAR Chairman Brian France. "You're going to be in the cross hairs of elimination at any given moment. That's how we want our young drivers to understand the racing competitive style in NASCAR."