Four drivers and fans have chances to win $100,000 MORE: How Dash 4 Cash works; enter now! CONCORD, N.C. -- Regan Smith said he didn't realize until Friday that Saturday's Hisense 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway was the qualifier for the NASCAR XFINITY Series' Dash 4 Cash Sweepstakes. But on Saturday in the driver's meeting he tapped Jason Burdett, crew chief of the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet, on the shoulder and said, "Hey, you know this is the Dash 4 Cash race and we need to be good today." The No. 7 remained steady and in the top 10 for the majority of the race, but what made Saturday good was a late pit stop that propelled Smith to a fourth-place finish, his best at Charlotte. Smith led a group of Dash 4 Cash qualifiers that included Darrell Wallace Jr . (fifth place), Daniel Suarez (sixth) and Ty Dillon (seventh) in a race won by Austin Dillon . The best finisher among the four in next week's Buckle Up presented by Click it or Ticket 200 at Dover International Speedway (2:30 p.m. ET, FOX) will take home $100,000 and advance to the next round of the Dash 4 Cash. For Wallace , the fifth-place finish at Charlotte was a career best in his young XFINITY Series career and came on the heels of a sixth-place showing at Iowa. Wallace also finished sixth at Texas earlier this season, and the driver of the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford said he's building some momentum. "This is a confidence booster for all of my guys," Wallace said. "We just have to clean up ourselves on pit road. That's been a struggle for us these last couple races, but we've been able to manage a couple spots on restarts and come away with our first top-five in the series. ... This is where we need to be. We're setting up ship for late in the season." As for the immediate future, Wallace said he needed to learn how to translate qualifying success at Dover International Speedway into a race win. In 2012, Wallace won the pole in the fall XFINITY race at Dover only to finish 12th. He also won a pole there in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in the spring of 2013 but finished 10th. "Dover has been a very successful track for me," Wallace said. "It would be nice if (the Dash 4 Cash) paid for the pole there because I'm pretty good at qualifying there. I haven't got the finishes I wanted, but I'm excited to be in the XFINITY Series and part of the Dash 4 Cash Series, so I'm glad to be one of the four." Wallace and fellow rookie Suarez will mix it up with Smith and Dillon, who are veterans of the Dash 4 Cash battles -- with Dillon winning a Dash 4 Cash race last year at Indianapolis Motor Speedway . In addition to Dover and Indianapolis, the Dash 4 Cash will take place at Bristol Motor Speedway and Darlington Raceway this year. Suarez, who qualified 19th for Saturday's race in Charlotte, charged through the field early and maintained a top-10 position for the second half of the race. Suarez's sixth-place finish in his first race at CMS was his fourth top 10 of the season. "We had a hard time in qualifying -- maybe one of my worst qualifying runs of the year at 19th," Suarez said. "All these guys, they don't know how to give up and that's something that is really good, and I'm learning to be just like that as well." And like Smith, Suarez was pleasantly surprised that Saturday marked the beginning of the Dash 4 Cash. "That's cool and something new actually," Suarez said. "I saw the Dash 4 Cash, and I don't know exactly how it works or anything, but I'm really proud to be part of this and something new for me." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Driver set to compete in NASCAR XFINITY Series Darrell "Bubba" Wallace Jr., third in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series final standings this past season and a graduate of NASCAR Next and Drive for Diversity initiatives, will compete in the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 2015 for Roush Fenway Racing , according to RFR officials. Wallace , 21, will join drivers Chris Buescher , Ryan Reed and Elliott Sadler in the RFR lineup. Wallace will pilot the organization's No. 6 Ford Mustang previously driven by Trevor Bayne . Additional team personnel and sponsorship will be announced at a later date. "I've had a remarkable journey over the last few years thanks to people who have put me in a position to win the races that I have," Wallace said. "When I first joined the sport, many said I would never compete with the real drivers. Now, as I join the winningest (XFINITY) team in NASCAR history, I take that as a responsibility to add more wins to the team's legacy and help tear down the barriers for the next generation of NASCAR drivers." Wallace won five races from 2013-14 while competing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports, scoring four this past season. RELATED: Bubba done with KBM as team announces 2015 lineup In 2013, he became the first African American driver to win a NASCAR national series event in 50 years when he won his first Camping World Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway . This past year, he successfully defended his title while driving an entry whose paint scheme and number 34 paid tribute to NASCAR's first African American winner, Wendell Scott. Wallace made six career Nationwide (soon to be XFINITY ) Series starts for Joe Gibbs Racing , with whom he was under contract, between 2012-14. He finished in the top 10 in four of those starts, with a best finish of seventh at Iowa (in 2012) and Daytona (2014). However, without sponsorship to remain at KBM, and with no funding for him at JGR in the XFINITY Series, Wallace asked for and was granted his release earlier this month. RFR president Steve Newmark said Wallace "is viewed in industry circles as one of the brightest young drivers." "He has a charismatic personality and at the same time has exhibited the ability to win on the race track," Newmark said. "We are looking forward to getting him in our race cars next season." In addition to the four XFINITY Series teams, Roush Fenway also fields teams in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series for drivers Bayne, Ricky Stenhouse Jr . and Greg Biffle . Bayne, who is making the move up to compete full time in the Sprint Cup Series in 2015, finished sixth in the Nationwide Series this past season, while Buescher, who won once, was seventh and Reed ninth. Sadler spent the previous two seasons at JGR, finishing fourth in 2013 and third this past year. RELATED: Wallace Jr. receives release from JGR Roush Fenway Racing's XFINITY Series program is the winningest in NASCAR, having earned 133 victories. Ricky Stenhouse Jr . (2011-12), Carl Edwards (2007) and Biffle (2002) have won series championships for the group. "We are certainly pleased to have Bubba Wallace come on board," team co-owner Jack Roush said. "He is certainly a great young talent and I feel it will be mutually beneficial for us to be able to put him into a team environment with a veteran driver like Elliott (Sadler) and the young guys Chris Buescher and Ryan Reed . "We have had a great deal of history in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and we are happy to have Bubba as the latest piece of that rich legacy." The addition of Wallace to the Ford camp is a boost for the automaker as well. "We're thrilled to have Bubba Wallace be part of our Ford Mustang racing efforts," said Jamie Allison, director, Ford Racing. "His winning performances since becoming part of NASCAR's Drive for Diversity program have certainly made him one of the drivers in the sport to watch in the future, and we think he can bring a lot to Roush Fenway and Ford, both on and off the track." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Darrell Wallace Jr. talks to NASCAR Illustrated's Steven Levine about his 1967 Volkswagon Beetle.
Longtime NASCAR broadcaster named first quarter recipient posthumously DARLINGTON, S.C. -- Steve Byrnes, a highly respected television broadcaster who covered motorsports for over 30 years, has been awarded the NMPA Spirit Award for the first quarter of 2015 by the members of the National Motorsports Press Association. The award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. Byrnes began his broadcasting career in 1982 and joined Fox Sports in 2001. He served as a pit road reporter for Fox's coverage of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing from 2001-2014 and most recently anchored coverage of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races and co-hosted the NASCAR Race Hub program on Fox Sports 1. Byrnes' 32-year career as a member of the motorsports media included coverage of racing for CBS, TNN, WTBS and Fox networks. March's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway was named the " Food City 500 In Support Of Steve Byrnes & Stand Up To Cancer," honoring Steve's battle against head and neck cancer. Byrnes passed away two days after the race and is survived by his wife Karen and son Bryson. Byrnes received votes on more than 92 percent of the ballots cast by the NMPA membership. Others receiving votes were sponsor STP and six-time Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson .
RCR driver scores fourth career XFINITY Series win RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings " Learn more about Dash 4 Cash CONCORD, N.C. – For the second straight Saturday, Denny Hamlin had the chance to hold off a race's strongest car for the victory. Unlike last Saturday's NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, however, there were too many laps left after the final restart in Saturday's Hisense 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series, and polesitter Austin Dillon powered past Hamlin on Lap 186 of 200 to finish the race where he belonged—at the front of the field. By the time he crossed the finish line, Dillon was 2.692 seconds ahead of Hamlin, who had taken the lead during a restart on Lap 167 that saw Dillon fall back to fourth from the inside lane by the time the leaders exited Turn 2. One by one, Dillon picked off Regan Smith , Kahne and Hamlin on the way to his second XFINITY Series victory of the season, his first at Charlotte and the fourth of his career. Kahne ran third behind Dillon and Hamlin, followed by Smith and rookies Darrell Wallace Jr . and Daniel Suarez . Ty Dillon came home seventh and trimmed the series lead of 11th-place finisher Chris Buescher to four points. Dillon led 163 laps and held an advantage of more than six seconds during a 54-lap green-flag run that preceded the second caution of the race on Lap 110. How good was Dillon's No. 33 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet? "I didn't want to get out of this thing," Dillon said in Victory Lane. "This thing drove so good. It was a heck of a race there with Denny at the end and Kasey (Kahne). I had to go right there in lapped traffic (to make the winning pass). "I knew if I didn't hurry up and get in front of him right there, the tires might equalize (in terms of grip)." But when Dillon picked the inside lane for what proved to be the final restart—after a caution for Kyle Fowler 's wreck in Turn 1—Hamlin seized what he considered a fortuitous opportunity and surged into the lead. "I thought when the 33 gave us the outside, that was a big advantage for us if we could stay with him through Turns 1 and 2," said Hamlin, who last Saturday held off Kevin Harvick in the final 10-lap shootout to win the Sprint All-Star Race. "We (did), and it allowed us to get position on him and even get him shuffled a few spots. "That was all good, but his car was just so fast he just overcame that track position." Hamlin lost the lead when the lapped car of Peyton Sellers stayed low and forced Hamlin's No. 54 Toyota to pass on the outside. "I needed to stay on the bottom," Hamlin said. "My car was best on the bottom. His car was pinned to the bottom as well. So I needed all of the lapped cars to move up high, and all of them did, except for the 97 (Sellers). He gave us the high line. That just killed us and killed our chances from that point, once the 33 got to our inside." Dillon chose the inside line because his car had worked well on the bottom for the entire race to that point. "My spotter (Andy Houston) made the fact that we should have probably taken the top, and I had been on the bottom all day, so I chose the bottom again," Dillon said. "I just didn't want to let these guys down (his crew). The Rheem car was so fast... "I thought about it, and I probably should have used the top, just because I would have had the run down the backstretch. It seems that, as the race goes on, that the outside can stop spinning the tires, and the rubber lays down... "Andy made the point, and it all worked out, but I'll definitely learn from that, for sure." Smith, Wallace , Suarez and Ty Dillon qualified for next week's XFINITY Dash 4 Cash competition at Dover as the top four finishers among series regulars. Those drivers will compete for $100,000 in next Saturday's race at Dover, with the top finisher among them claiming the prize. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Fourth XFINITY Series pole of the season for 2013 champion RELATED: Full starting lineup Austin Dillon won the Coors Light Pole Award for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Hisense 300 on Saturday (2:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1, PRN, SiriusXM), turning a lap of 184.615 mph around the 1.5-mile oval at Charlotte Motor Speedway . The No. 33 Richard Childress Racing will be on the pole, sharing the front row with Darrell Wallace , Jr. The No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford led the first round of qualifying with a speed of 183.968 mph and finished the final round of qualifying with a lap at 184.395 mph. This is the fourth pole of the season for Dillon, who won from the top spot in Las Vegas in March. Brian Scott will start third in the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet (183.799 mph); Denny Hamlin starts fourth in the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota (183.536 mph); and Kyle Larson rounded out the top five with a lap of 183.474 mph in the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Chevrolet. Chad Boat lost control and spun out through the grass during XFINITY Series qualifying. The incident was almost identicial to Boat's wreck in the No. 84 Billy Boat Motrosports Chevrolet during Thursday's practice for the Hisense 300 .
See where your favorite driver will pit in the Hisense 300 (2:30 p.m. ET, FOX) RELATED: Hisense 300 starting lineup Austin Dillon earned the Coors Light Pole Award and the first choice of pit pick. His No. 33 team selected the second stall which is the first one at pit exit heading into Turn 1 for Saturday's Hisense 300 XFINITY Series race at 2:30 p.m. ET (FOX, PRN, SiriusXM). The second-fastest driver in qualifying was Darrell Wallace Jr ., who chose the 15th stall and the first with a front opening. Third in qualifying was Brian Scott , who will attempt to get his first XFINITY win from the 22nd pit stall, three off of the start/finish line toward the Turn 4 side of pit road. Denny Hamlin was fourth-fastest and will pit in the 14th stall at the end of the first group of pit stalls with an opening behind him. Last year's Hisense 300 winner, Kyle Larson , was fifth-fastest and will pit in the middle of that first bank of pit stalls, taking the seventh box. Aric Almirola was sixth-fastest and will pit in the 30th stall with an opening in front of him. Seventh-fastest was Erik Jones , who will pit in the fourth stall. Kasey Kahne was eighth in qualifying and selected the 10th stall. While Ty Dillon and Ryan Reed round out the top 10, picking the 19th and 28th pit stalls respectively. Chris Buescher , the XFINITY Series points leader, qualified 14th and chose the 36th stall with a front opening. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Darrell Wallace Jr., Regan Smith, Daniel Suarez and Ty Dillon were the top four XFINITY series regulars at Charlotte to qualify for the first round of the Dash 4 Cash and a $100,000 bonus at Dover.
Deal with Penske locks Nationwide driver in field with points from No. 77
O'Donnell: Potential for youth and diversity initiatives to merge RELATED: NASCAR Next class unveiled " More on NASCAR Next GALLERY: Meet the NASCAR Next Class of 2015 Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR's Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer, was among the sanctioning body's presenters during Tuesday's debut of the NASCAR Next 2015-16 roster of young drivers. If the process for identifying new up-and-comers for driving opportunities continues to grow, the group's composition could evolve in the years ahead. The newest NASCAR Next class of 12 drivers -- five returning members and seven first-time participants -- made their grand introduction Tuesday at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Two members -- Nicole Behar and Ruben Garcia Jr. -- were also participants in last fall's NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine, a proving ground for multicultural drivers and women hoping to make their mark in the sport. The NASCAR Next campaign is in its fifth season; the D4D initiative has been in effect since 2004. O'Donnell said each program has momentum, but that there is potential for a merged program in the future that combines the best of both. "I think it's part and parcel," O'Donnell said. "I think eventually the hope is that it could grow just to one, but I think the D4D program is still running strong, still provides us with an opportunity those who may have not been in a car at 4 and 5 years old, didn't have that opportunity and then were able to do that through the Rev Racing program, so we've seen some success and we're still seeing that. "I think this is an opportunity to recognize some drivers who are in the Late Models and have had some success and continue to grow and we can work with them as well. So, two successful programs, but eventually we'd love to see it just be one." Since the Next program began under the moniker of NASCAR's Next 9 in 2011, several notable alumni -- Chase Elliott , Kyle Larson , Darrell Wallace Jr . and Alex Bowman among them -- have found regular rides in one of the three NASCAR national series. O'Donnell said the movement to identify and promote the new wave of stock-car driving talent has been a collaborative effort, drawing on the recommendations of former drivers, track owners and other racing officials. Though O'Donnell hinted at the program's evolution, five years later the objective for NASCAR Next remains the same. "The goal of it is to graduate a driver from the touring to the national series level," O'Donnell said. "As we've seen, that's always been a struggle of getting names out there about their talent. They're so difficult in this day and age, so I think this has been a help to just get some drivers who may not have been recognized that, hey, let's get an owner to take look at a driver and advance them to the next level as well." Among other topics O'Donnell fielded Tuesday in an open Q&A with reporters: -- On the criticisms lobbed by defending series champion Kevin Harvick last weekend, stating that the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule was "stagnant" : "We're happy with the schedule we have. We certainly look at what's available to us, but the scheduled that we have in place, I think that the tracks are doing a tremendous job of helping to promote the sport. Talladega was a great success for us this weekend, and we'll roll into Kansas and Charlotte. We certainly have dialogue with Kevin and everyone's got an opinion on the schedule, but we're happy with where we're at right now." -- On why the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race won't be run as a high-profile test of next year's rules package: "I think we're still developing what the 2016 package could be. It could very well be the 2015 package, so to go down a path that we felt potentially needed testing, we didn't think was the right thing to do, and put essentially a test out there for a big race on our schedule. So we elected to stay where we're at and continue to monitor the racing under this package right now." -- O'Donnell also indicated that NASCAR competition officials are targeting August 1 as a deadline for settling on a 2016 rules package. He also said that he expects national series schedules to be released on a similar time frame to last year as well.