Denny Hamlin was famous on the short tracks around Virginia and North Carolina when he was cutting his teeth in stock car racing. In 2003, he ran 35 Late Model Stock Car races and finished first in 25 of them. Hamlin raced at seven different race tracks that season and scored wins at five of them: South Boston, Hickory, Coastal Plains, Southern National and Southhampton Motor Speedway.
The following season he won races at five race tracks again. Since he’s moved up to the Cup series Hamlin has started a foundation and every year puts on a charity race to help fund the foundation’s efforts. The past three years the race took place at Southside Speedway but because the track is closed this year, the event will move to Richmond International Raceway following the K&N East race on April 28th.
The event is an invitation only race so racers from national touring series as well as local short tracks will be competing for the win and to raise money for Hamlin’s foundation. The invitations will be sent to drivers selected by NASCAR, including 15 Sprint Cup drivers. There will be a total of 55 invites issued for the event and the drivers will be allowed to participate in a special test session at the ¾-mile track.
On raceday the haulers will enter the track at 6:00 AM and teams will unload all of their necessary equipment then proceed through inspection. After inspection the teams will practice around 2:00 pm and qualify somewhere between 5:30 and 6:00. The top 36 drivers will race in the event with the 15 Sprint Cup invitees locked into the field.
The event will start with a 45 lap run followed by a competition caution that will give teams the chance to change four tires and make minor adjustments. Spring and shock changes will not be allowed, only things that would be possible during a normal pit stop. The race will restart and run until 10 laps to go when the caution will fly again to tighten up the field.
Then, the final 10 laps will be run with the possibility of one green-white-checkered finish. If a caution flies during that time the race will be finished. There has not been a decision on restarts at this point but the word is NASCAR is thinking about utilizing the cone restart that several tracks have adopted this season where drivers get to choose inside or outside track position on the lap before the green flag flies.
Along with Cup drivers like Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne, Trevor Bayne, Joey Logano and obviously Hamlin the word is that Travis Pastrana will also be invited to the event. Throw in many of the biggest names in Late Model racing and the event promises to be another fantastic show. Many of the local Late Model racers have long wanted to run at Richmond so this is going to be an extra special treat with lots of exposure for them. If you’re going to be in the area for the Cup race or you already live in the Richmond area it will definitely be worth the price of admission to attend this event.
While you’re waiting for the big show at Richmond there is plenty of local action taking place this weekend. Some of the events that are taking place around the country include:
Fri : Mar 25 – Ocean Speedway ; Watsonville : CA – Taco Bravo Ocean Sprints
Fri : Mar 25 – Five Flags Speedway ; Pensacola : FL – Blizzard Series
Fri : Mar 25 – Ocala Speedway ; Ocala : FL – WoO Late Model Series
Fri : Mar 25 – Boothill Speedway ; Shreveport : LA – USMTS Modifieds
Sat : Mar 26 – Mobile International Speedway ; Mobile : AL – Miller Lite
Sat : Mar 26 – Sayre Speedway ; Sayre : AL – Southern Superstars
Sat : Mar 26 – I-30 Speedway ; Benton : AR – Mid-South Racing Association
Sat : Mar 26 – Bakersfield Speedway ; Oildale : CA – California Lightning Sprints
Sat : Mar 26 – Bakersfield Speedway ; Oildale : CA – National 3/4 Midget Association
Sat : Mar 26 – Homestead-Miami Speedway ; Homestead : FL – Historic Sportscar Racing East
Sat : Mar 26 – New Smyrna Speedway ; New Smyrna : FL Super Late Model
Sat : Feb 26 – Palm Beach Int Raceway ; West Palm Beach : FL – V8 Stock Car Road Racing Series
Sat : Mar 26 – Volusia Speedway Park ; Barberville : FL – Florida Mini-Sprint Association
Sat : Mar 26 – Screven Motor Speedway ; Sylvania : GA – WoO Late Model Series
Sat : Mar 26 – Southern Illinois Center ; DuQuoin : IL – POWRI Midgets
Sat : Mar 26 – Brownstown Speedway ; Brownstown : IN – Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
Sat : Mar 26 – A-1 Raceway ; St Tammany : LA – Cajun Sprinters Association
Sat : Mar 26 – Sabine Motor Speedway ; Many : LA – Ark-La-Tex Winged Modifieds
Sat : Mar 26 – New Egypt Speedway ; New Egypt : NJ – Race of Champion Dirt Modifieds
Sat : Mar 26 – New Egypt Speedway ; New Egypt : NJ – Race of Champions Sportsmen
Sat : Mar 26 – Caraway Speedway ; Asheboro : NC – NASCAR Southern Modified Tour
Sat : Mar 26 – Coastal Plains Raceway ; Jacksonville : NC – Southeast Limited Late Models
Sat : Mar 26 – Concord Motorsports Park ; Concord : NC – United Auto Racing Association
Sat : Mar 26 – Mercer Raceway Park ; Mercer : PA – Unified Force Race Championship Tour
Sat : Mar 26 – Trail-Ways Speedway ; Hanover : PA – Central Pennsylvania LegendCars
Sat : Mar 26 – Dillon Motor Speedway ; Dillon : SC – Allison Legacy Race Series
Sat : Mar 26 – Dillon Motor Speedway ; Dillon : SC – PASS Southern Late Model Series
Sat : Mar 26 – Lancaster Speedway ; Lancaster : SC – Carolina Clash Series
Sat : Mar 26 – Greenville-Pickens Speedway ; Greenville : SC – NASCAR Camping World East Series
Sat : Mar 26 – Clarksville Speedway ; Clarksville : TN – Southern Regional Racing Series
Sat : Mar 26 – Cowtown Speedway ; Kennedale : TX – Sprint Series of Texas
Sat : Mar 26 – Lone Star Speedway ; Kilgore : TX – USMTS Modifieds
Sat : Mar 26 – Speedarama Raceway ; Lufkin : TX – Southern Thunder Sprints
Sat : Mar 26 – Road America ; Elkart Lake : WI – ChumpCar World Series
Sun : Mar 27 – Homestead-Miami Speedway ; Homestead : FL – Historic Sportscar Racing East
Sun : Mar 27 – Palm Beach Int Raceway ; West Palm Beach : FL – V8 Stock Car Road Racing Series
Sun : Mar 27 – Needmore Speedway ; Norman Park : GA – WoO Late Model Series
Sun : Mar 27 – Little Rock Speedway ; Rockingham : NC – INEX Legend Cars
Sun : Mar 27 – Road America ; Elkart Lake : WI – ChumpCar World Series
Wed : Mar 30 – Cowtown Speedway ; Kennedale : TX – ASCS / Lone Star Region
Rick Ware Racing Seeking Donations
The crew members from Rick Ware Racing who were killed as the result of the auto accident on March 11th have a fun set up for the benefit of their families by SunTrust Bank. Those interested in donating to the fund are encouraged to contact SunTrust at 704 664-2067 or send checks directly to the bank at 232 Williamson Road, Mooresville, NC 28117 FBO of the Stephen Masch/Dean Shaut Fund.