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JGR trio headlines Denny Hamlin's charity race

March 12, 2014, Staff report, NASCAR.com

JGR trio headlines Denny Hamlin's charity race
Kyle Busch returns as only three-time event winner

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Kyle Busch is returning to the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown in 2014, aiming to add a fourth title in the charity exhibition event hosted by his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate.

JGR's Matt Kenseth and 2013 Talladega winner David Ragan have also committed to the event, as well as national-series NASCAR drivers Elliott Sadler, Timothy Peters, Jeb Burton, Drew Herring and former racer and current television analyst Hermie Sadler. Several top area late model drivers will also compete in the race, which will benefit the Denny Hamlin Cystic Fibrosis Research Lab at the Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU.

The April 24 race, held the Thursday night before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Richmond International Raceway, moves this year to South Boston Speedway in South Boston, Va., which hosts NASCAR Whelen All-American Weekly Series events, and where Elliott Sadler, Peters and Herring have won track championships. The race began in 2008 at Southside Speedway, a short track near Hamlin's hometown of Chesterfield, Va., before moving to RIR for the past three years.

In 2012, Hamlin's foundation committed a $150,000 grant to the Denny Hamlin Cystic Fibrosis Lab, with funds raised through events like the Short Track Showdown. Hamlin hopes to encourage more of his fellow NASCAR drivers to take part in the race. Busch is the defending champion and only three-time winner of the event.

"The Short Track Showdown driver lineup is really coming together," Hamlin said. "Kyle and Matt are uber-competitive and, like me, don’t like to lose. However, it may be more challenging beating Elliott, Hermie, Timothy, Jeb and Drew and a heap of late model drivers that know how to get around (South Boston). It may be the best racing we’ve seen in this series yet."