While the big news from NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France’s state-of-the-sport address on Monday was the introduction of a new Chase format for the XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series, there are two other major changes taking place in each series for the 2016 season.
During his time addressing the 34th annual Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour presented by Technocom, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell announced an overhaul of the Dash 4 Cash program in the XFINITY Series and a 20-minute Caution Clock for the Camping World Truck Series.
"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."
For the 2016 season, the Dash 4 Cash events will consist of two heat races and a main event. The Dash 4 Cash races are scheduled for Bristol Motor Speedway on April 16, Richmond International Raceway on April 23, Dover International Speedway on May 14 and Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 23.
Traditional qualifying will set the 40-car field for the two heat races, with the odd-numbered qualifiers making up the first heat race and the even-numbered qualifiers running in the second heat race. The finishing order of the two heat races will determine the starting lineup for the main event.
The highest finishing driver among the four Dash 4 Cash eligible drivers will be awarded a $100,000 bonus. If a driver can win two or more Dash 4 Cash races, they will earn a spot in the 12-driver XFINITY Series Chase.
In addition, O’Donnell outlined how the new Caution Clock will work for this year’s Camping World Truck Series races.
With an eye toward creating tighter, more exciting racing, NASCAR will start the 20-minute Caution Clock when the initial green flag flies to start the race. If there is no caution by the time the Caution Clock reaches zero, NASCAR will throw the yellow flag. There will be no free pass for lapped cars for Caution Clock yellows. Once the race restarts, the 20-minute Caution Clock starts over and if the process is repeated.
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.
Brad Keselowski Racing’s Tyler Reddick, who finished second in the NCWTS points in 2015, does not believe the Caution Clock will dramatically change races in 2016.
"I really don’t think the Caution Clock is going to change a lot for our racing," said Reddick. "I can realistically say most of the cautions we have generally happen within 20 minutes of each other on a regular basis. It will create more restarts and more pit stops."