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Posted: Friday, July 18th 2014 at 12:50pm

NASCAR Preview: Smith chasing Nationwide Dash 4 Cash million

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Regan Smith looks to take his second step towards a $1 million bonus at Saturday night's NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway. / Photo: Chris Trotman/Getty Images
JOLIET, IL - Jackpot! JR Motorsport’s driver Regan Smith won the first round of the NASCAR Nationwide Series Dash 4 Cash program at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, banking $100,000 – and qualifying himself for the chance to win $1 million. If Smith can win the first three legs of the Dash 4 Cash and the Iowa race outright, Nationwide Insurance will award him an extra $600,000 - totaling one million dollars.

Smith and the top-three finishing NASCAR Nationwide Series championship contenders in last weekend’s race at NHMS – Chris Buescher, Elliott Sadler and Brian Scott – qualify to compete in the second round of Nationwide’s Dash 4 Cash program at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday night with an opportunity to win $100,000.

Smith is the only one of the four drivers who qualified for the first round to make it to the second round. Chicago could be an obstacle for Smith though; in his five starts at the 1.5-mile speedway he has posted an average finish of 24.0 with a pre-race Driver Rating of 64.7 (23rd-best).

Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Chris Buescher will be making his series debut at Chicagoland Speedway this weekend, but don’t count him out; he has finished in the top-10 twice this season on 1.5-mile speedways.

Among this round’s qualifiers, Sadler and Scott have enjoyed the most success at Chicago. Sadler has made nine starts there, posting one win (2012), four top 10s and an average finish of 15.6. While Scott has made seven series starts at Chicago posting three top 10s, his first career Coors Light pole, and an average finish of 9.8 – the second best average finish among active drivers.

The highest finisher of the four eligible drivers at Chicago will win the money and automatically qualify for the Dash 4 Cash at Indianapolis the following weekend. The next three highest finishing NNS regulars at Chicago not already qualified will also get to compete for the $100,000 bonus at Indianapolis. The final event at Iowa will carry the same qualifying requirements.

Four fans will be selected to win an all-expense paid trip to Iowa Speedway where they will be randomly paired with the four eligible drivers. The fan paired with the driver who wins the Dash 4 Cash at Iowa will also walk away with $100,000.

WDUN will have live MRN Radio coverage of Saturday night's NASCAR Nationwide Series race from Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, IL begining at 8:30 pm on 102.9 FM and 550 AM.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: A Look Back Heading Into Season’s Last Break

Hopefully, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers take a breather this weekend.

But some simply can’t get enough. Kasey Kahne and Kyle Larson both will run in Saturday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway. David Gilliland will race against his father (Butch) and son (Todd) in a Super Late Model Series race at Irwindale Speedway in California.

They love the thrill of racing. And there has been plenty of drama and excitement over the first 19 races. So as the series prepares for 17 consecutive weekends of racing to end the season, we thought it would be a good idea to dive into some of the statistics as we hit the final open weekend of the season.

Here are some highlights:

-11 different race winners.
-12 different Coors Light Pole winners; 13 track qualifying records have been broken.
-Average of 11.1 leaders per race through 19 races, compared to 8.8 at this point last year.
-Average of 24.1 lead changes per race, compared to 16.6 at this point last year last year.
-Average margin of victory is .717 seconds, the lowest through 19 races since the inception of electronic timing and scoring in 1993.
-Through race No. 19, there have been 76,570 green flag passes, the most at this point of the season since the inception of passing stats in 2005.

There have been 771 green flag passes for the lead, the second highest figure through 19 races since 2005.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has the weekend off. WDUN will have live coverage of the series' next race, the Brickyard 400 from Indianapolis Motor Speedway, on July 27.

NASCAR Camping World Trucks: Get The Dirt On Eldora

From asphalt to dirt, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series makes a transition to the high-banked clay oval of Eldora Speedway on July 23 for the second consecutive season. The only dirt track on the schedule, Eldora will challenge even the most seasoned of veterans as it remains unique to the truck series among national series schedules.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Larson and NCWTS Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Tyler Reddick will use their dirt racing backgrounds to their advantage as both drivers have experience in navigating the turns of Eldora.

In 2012, Reddick became the youngest driver to start in the World 100 at Eldora. At 16 years old, he was one of 123 entries in the annual dirt Late Model event and started on the outside pole, leading the first three laps. Although Reddick now focuses primarily on trucks, he recently made his first 2014 dirt Late Model start on July 4, and then won his second start the follow day at Highland Speedway in Illinois.

Larson is also a household name at Eldora as the driver has frequented the track on numerous occasions. In his first visit in September 2011, he became the second driver to sweep all three USAC features in the 4-Crown Nationals, finding victory lane in the National Midget, Sprint Car and Silver Crown Series’ events. Since then, Larson created his own sprint car team, Larson Marks Racing in 2014 and experienced his first win as an owner when driver Shane Stewart won the World of Outlaws STP Series at Eldora earlier this year.

Eldora has been good to Larson and Reddick in the past and with many drivers having limited experience on dirt, familiarity of the track may prove to be the key to success.
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