One of the best venues for short track racing in the country, South Boston (Va.) Speedway, will be the new home for and play host to Denny Hamlin’s annual Short Track Showdown next Thursday (April 24).
The annual celebrity Late Model race will raise funds for the Denny Hamlin Cystic Fibrosis Research Lab at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at Virginia Commonwealth University.
South Boston Speedway was where Hamlin began his racing career and eventually led to the Virginia native’s ascension to the Sprint Cup Series. The race will be held two days before the Toyota Owners 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway.
“Moving the race to South Boston Speedway makes it a new challenge for the drivers and brings back a bit of NASCAR nostalgia for the fans and media,” Hamlin said.
It’s been 11 years since Hamlin has raced at the venerable asphalt-paved short track.
“Based on the interest and feedback I’ve heard, I expect the all-star line-up to be better than any we’ve had in our six-year history of the event,” Hamlin said.
Among drivers already committed to take part in the event are Hamlin’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth and Elliott Sadler.
The younger Busch brother is the defending champion from last year’s Showdown and has the event’s only multiple winner, having won it three times in its seven-year existence.
Others that have committed to appear include David Ragan, former NASCAR driver turned broadcaster Hermie Sadler and trucks series driver drivers Timothy Peters and Jeb Burton (son of former NASCAR driver Ward Burton and nephew of NASCAR on NBC analyst Jeff Burton).
More drivers will be announced in the coming days leading up to the event.
The Short Track Showdown began in 2008 at Southside Speedway near Hamlin’s hometown of Chesterfield, Va., outside of Richmond, before moving to Richmond International Raceway in 2011 to pair up with the NASCAR K&N Series. For its seventh year in 2014, the race moves to South Boston, which is about 120 miles southwest of Richmond, and 65 miles east of Martinsville Speedway, another Hamlin favorite.
“We at South Boston Speedway are honored to be the 2014 host of the Denny Hamlin charity race,” track general manager Cathy Rice said in a statement. “Fans of South Boston Speedway were witness to Denny’s talent when he would dominate late model stock races over ten years ago.
“Over the past few years we have also been witness to Denny’s talent as a philanthropist by creating this terrific event to benefit children with Cystic Fibrosis. We are truly honored to be able to support the Denny Hamlin Foundation and the great work they do.”
Hamlin in 2012 committed to raising $150,000 for the Fibrosis Research Lab at VCU and next Thursday’s event will go a long way towards further reaching that fundraising goal.
Tickets are very affordable. General admission is $20 for adults and $25 on race day, as well as $10 for ages 12-17 and $15 on race day.
For more information, visit dennyhamlinfoundation.org.
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