Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown to be held April 24 at South Boston (Va.) Speedway

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Two days before the Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway, Denny Hamlin’s annual Short Track Showdown will be held on Thursday, April 24, at South Boston (Va.) Speedway.

Among NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series drivers that have already committed to taking part in the 200-lap late model event are Hamlin and Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch. The younger Busch brother is a three-time winner of the event.

Other drivers confirmed for the night of racing and fund-raising for the Denny Hamlin Foundation, which supports and funds Cystic Fibrosis research and new therapies in Hamlin’s native Virginia area include David Ragan, Elliott Sadler, Hermie Sadler, Timothy Peters, Jeb Burton and Drew Herring.

Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the gate for adults, $10 in advance and $15 at the gate for youths ages 12-17, and admission is free for kids 11 and under (with an adult ticket purchase). For more information or to buy advance tickets, call 1-877-440-1540.

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Fernando Alonso completes first test with United Autosports

Photo: United Autosports
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Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso enjoyed his first outing with United Autosports, with whom he will contest the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona, in their Ligier JS P217 LMP2 chassis.

The McLaren Formula 1 driver completed the test at Motorland Aragon in Spain alongside co-driver Phil Hanson, who will be a teammate with Alonso at next year’s 24-hour Daytona enduro. Filipe Albuquerque, a former GT class winner at the Rolex 24, was also on hand to help Alonso and the team ahead of Alonso’s first run in an LMP2 car, which comes only a couple days after he made his LMP1 testing debut with Toyota. Albuquerque races with Mustang Sampling Racing in IMSA, but will return to United’s European Le Mans Series program for all but one race in 2018.

“I had a great first test with United Autosports. Obviously, we are on a really tight schedule between now and Daytona, but it was nice to jump in the car for the first time,” said Alonso, who will rejoin the team at the official Roar Before the 24 test on January 5-7.

Alonso added, “There’s quite a few switches and things to study so it was important to do this initial shakedown before Daytona, so I could fully learn about the car. I’m happy with everything – the car felt great and the team were fantastic. The atmosphere here is wonderful, like a big family, so today has been amazing. I cannot wait for Daytona.”

Team owner Zak Brown, who also serves as executive director of McLaren Technology Group and helps lead the McLaren Formula 1 effort, shared Alonso’s enthusiasm and was not surprised he was able to acclimate himself relatively quickly.

“Fernando’s first test with United Autosports went awesome as expected. He is a world champion and it is a pleasure to have him in our car,” he said of Alonso’s debut with the team.

Alonso is currently schedule to contest the Rolex 24 with the aforementioned Hanson and McLaren test driver Lando Norris.