Hamlin's Charity Race Returns to South Boston
January 30, 2014 | 9:54 A.M. EST
The biggest celebrity-laden Late Model Race on asphalt is going back to its roots at South Boston Speedway (South Boston, Va.) on April 24, as host Denny Hamlin and an all-star cast of drivers return to the race track that helped launch Hamlin’s NASCAR career, among other racing stars. Again scheduled as a weekday prelude for the weekend NASCAR races at Richmond International Speedway, the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown features a collection of NASCAR stars and local Late Model stars racing for pride and to raise awareness and funding for the Denny Hamlin Foundation, which supports and funds Cystic Fibrosis research and new therapies in the region.
“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,” said Hamlin, who last raced at South Boston in 2003. “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.”
The driver line-up will be announced closer to the event, but Hamlin expects last year’s winner, Kyle Busch, Hamlin’s teammate at Joe Gibbs Racing, to be the first in line since he is the event’s only multiple winner. Previous race winners include Hamlin, Tony Stewart, and C.E. Falk. Falk’s thrilling victory in 2010 at Southside Speedway makes him the only non-Sprint Cup Series driver to win the event. Falk passed Hamlin on the final lap and then held off a hard-charging Stewart to take what Falk described as the biggest win of his career.
The Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown began in 2008 at Southside Speedway, a local short track 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 just over 100 miles to the southeast of Richmond to another short track with a long history in stock car racing.
“We at South Boston Speedway are honored to be the 2014 host of the Denny Hamlin charity race,” said Cathy Rice, general manager of South Boston. “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."
The annual race serves as a foretaste for fans attending the Toyota Owners 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race two nights later at Richmond International Raceway.
“The Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown at South Boston Speedway is sure to be an exciting event and will showcase another great ‘hometown’ short track in our Commonwealth,” said RIR President Dennis Bickmeier. “Richmond International Raceway continues to support the mission of the Denny Hamlin Foundation and the work that Denny does in the Richmond area.”
In 2012, the Denny Hamlin Foundation committed to a $150,000 grant to help fund the Denny Hamlin Cystic Fibrosis Research Lab at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU (“CHoR”) with monies raised through events like the Short Track Showdown.
Cystic Fibrosis (“CF”) is a fatal genetic disease that affects about 30,000 children and adults in the United States. CF causes chronic infections in the lungs and inadequate digestion of nutrients. There is no cure for CF, but medical advances have doubled the life expectancy of children in the last 30 years and increased the overall median age of survival to 38.
The Denny Hamlin Cystic Fibrosis Research Lab has a large research staff focused on finding a cure for CF and in developing new therapies for CF. As the only accredited CF center in the region, CF patients cared for at CHoR have access to the latest therapies and can participate in groundbreaking clinical studies.
Advance tickets to the Short Track Showdown are available by calling the track ticket hotline at 1-877-440-1540. General admission is $20 Advance/$25 Race Day for Adult; $10 Advance/$15 Race Day for Youth (ages 12-17); and Free for Children ages 11 and under (with an Adult ticket purchase). Season passes are not honored for this special event.