SOUTH BOSTON, VA (April 20, 2015) – The Denny Hamlin Foundation announced today that the eighth-annual Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown, presented by FedEx, has partnered with NBCSN to present the April 23rd celebrity Late Model charity race held at South Boston Speedway (Va.). Thursday’s race is expected to air as a one-hour special in May amid the network’s coverage of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.
“I’ve gotten to know the NBC Sports team over the years and they are very passionate about motorsports,” said Hamlin, a native Virginia Late Model racer who now drives the No. 11 FedEx Toyota in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. “This is a great opportunity to showcase awesome, local short track racing on a national media platform.”
The Showdown, which features top NASCAR drivers competing against the best regional Late Model drivers, again serves as a weekday prelude to the weekend NASCAR races at Richmond International Raceway. Proceeds from the 200-lap Showdown go to support the Denny Hamlin Foundation, which has donated $150,000 in grants to help fund the Denny Hamlin Cystic Fibrosis Research Lab at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU and support the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation-accredited Therapeutics Development Center at VCU.
In addition, newly-enshrined NASCAR Hall of Fame member Bill Elliott will serve as Grand Marshal of the Showdown, joining Hamlin and celebrity NASCAR drivers Chase Elliott and David Ragan, plus Virginia natives Timothy Peters, Jeb Burton, Gray Gaulding and Hermie Sadler. Previous Showdown winners representing the Late Model lineup are 2014 winner Matt Bowling, a Whelen All-American Series driver, and 2010 winner C.E. Falk. Both are the only non-NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers to win the event.
SOUTH BOSTON, VA. — The green flag will soon be waving for the start of the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown at South Boston Speedway.
Former NASCAR star Bill Elliott will serve as the grand marshal of this year’s Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown. His son, Chase Elliott, the 2014 NASCAR XFINITY Series champion, is among the competitors who will be bidding for the Showdown title this year.
The event, which is in its eighth consecutive year of existence, will be making its second straight appearance at America’s Hometown Track.
The 200-lap feature race will get cranked up at 7:30 p.m. however, the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown will offer up a host of activities throughout the day Thursday.
The Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown benefits the Denny Hamlin Foundation and its ongoing support of Cystic Fibrosis research and treatment.
In addition to Chase Elliott other NASCAR stars who will be battling for the victory Thursday include David Ragan, Timothy Peters, Hermie Sadler, Jeb Burton and Gray Gaulding to name a few.
Past winners of the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown include Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart.
Robersonville, NC – She sure enough did not qualify on the pole but was there in the end to claim the first race of the year at the high bank 3/8 mi track. After a very active off season with track officials making the change to Saturday night racing, adopting a rule book to “merge” two division in hopes to cut cost and increase car counts, and adding three new divisions to the season, those same officials were forced to pull the plug this past weekend due to weather.
Most of the day the forecast was calling for no more than a 40% chance of showers, with a chance of a thunderstorm around the five o’clock hour. We thought we were in the clear after getting all three scheduled divisions qualifying in but ran into trouble during the “opening ceremonies.” A slow drizzle worked its way over the track dropping enough water to leave a shine on the speedway.
Immediately clean-up crews hit the track dragging tires behind them in an attempt to keep heat in the racing surface. An old trick that most local short tracks use due to the lack of jet dryers or now the Air Titan. With the help of half a dozen UCARS and Shawn Balluzzo’s modified we started to see the primary groove start to dry out – by this time it was 8pm.
All of those efforts would however get washed down the drain quite literally as another band of storms moved into the area, bringing larger drops at a heavier rate. By this time we had completely lost the track and officials made the call to cancel the evenings events.
McCaskill did send a statement during qualifying though. Setting a fast time of 15.296 to claim what would have been the pole – mind you he was two tenths faster than the second place car. Shelton McNair, Thomas Burbage, Ronald Brown, and Louis White would make up the rest of your starting five. Jimmy Humblet who was lighting fast all afternoon in practice laid a lap down to the tune of a 15.493, which was fast enough to claim the top spot in a seven-car field. Shawn Balluzzo, Mike Rudy, Chris Humblet, and Scotty Lawrence were those drivers finishing out the modified starting five!
For those fans in attendance the track has announced to hold onto your ticket/wrist band as they will be honored for entry in two weeks on May 2nd. Stay tuned to our Facebook/Twitter page as I will confirm with speedway officials to see if they plan on making any changes to the schedule.
Robersonville, NC – Yes fans its about that time of the week/year again. Race tracks all over the country are either kicking off their season or just starting to find their rhythm! Tonight marks race number three in our touring series and we are sticking with the “Opening Night” theme, lets call it a little mini series! First the opening race of the CARS Tour, then the 65th opening night of Langley Speedway, now we head down to East Carolina Motor Speedway! After having a year to figure everything out and get their name out the track now enters their sophomore season under the NASCAR banner!
Over the off season track promotor John Vick has really focused on making improvements for the track, its drivers, and fans alike! One that I would like to point out and possibly my personal favorite – their Thursday night radio show on Beach Boogie and Blues! Just another way to get these drivers names and sponsors out to the public! Because without the sponsors it makes it hard for drivers to field cars, no cars no fans, no cars AND no fans… No track.
Vick, along with track owners and officials decided over the off season to merge some rule books and divisions in hopes of creating a larger turn out in its premier division, as well as help the drivers! In 2014 ECMS had two distinct LMSC & LLM divisions… LMSC ran for Div I points where LLM ran for Div II points. No need to sugar coat things here but the LMSC class struggled for cars counts week in and out. This year those divisions have been merged under one rule package and are eligible for Div. I national points. “Its a consistent engine package,” John Vick told The Weekly Racer back when the announcement was made. “Should create full fields and be cost effective for everyone! Not to mention East Carolina could help you with national points.”
Photo by: Michelle Fedun-Ankrum
Birthday: March 6, 2000
Current City: Huntersville, NC
Hometrack: Everywhere, USA
We have featured this driver, and talked about the young man behind the #58 LMSC quite a few times in the recent months here on The Weekly Racer. Each time its because is ability to make something out of almost nothing. Twice now Ankrum has proved himself worthy of our Hard Charger Award – given to a driver typically in our Touring Series events that has pushed through the field the most. We thought what better time than to bring you a little closer to this west coast sensation! Oh and you can mark my words – this young man by the name of Tyler Ankrum is going to be the next best thing!
Ankrum started racing and the ripe ‘ole age of nine back in his home state of California. “I started racing a one quarter midget car at the USAC Orange Show Quarter Midget track in San Bernardino Califronia,” Ankrum told me. “Within six months I was racing three quarter midgets and running three different classes.” In the three short years Ankrum ran quarter midgets he was able to build a pretty impressive resume for himself. Multiple track championships, multiple track records for fastest times, QMA California State & Regional Championship. Oh yea – don’t forget the 5 USAC National Championships!
Speaking of which, this was something Ankrum pointed out to me as one of his biggest accomplishments. In 2013 Tyler became the first USAC guarter midget driver to win four (4) national titles in one year. “My biggest accomplishment in my quarter midget career was in 2013 I became the first USAC quarter midget driver to win 4 National Championships in one year,” said Ankrum. “You were only allowed to run 4 cars in 4 different classes, and I currently still hold the record.”
Hampton, VA – Mother nature dealt a pretty nice hand this past weekend as our friends from NASCAR dropped by. Even with the Whelen Southern Modified Tour in town that did not take away from the fact we still had some local divisions to kick off their seasons. The Rhonnda Claiborne Champ Karts, Butterfoss & Barton Super Streets and the KeesVacation.com Pro Six were all ready to kick their season off. In addition, the Pepsi Grandstock made their return after a thrilling ending just a week ago that took the top two out coming to the white flag.
Wing Champ Karts
If you like pack racing, high-speed drafting, and hoping you have enough friends come drop of the green flag, then this division is for you! 21 karts took to the speedway to open their Pandora’s box of a season with long time veteran Harry Leach leading the way. Leach was able to grab the pole earlier in the afternoon with their “Euroish” type qualifying. The lone female in the pack of hungry wolves was able to pilot her #39 machine to the outside pole – which I believe was her highest starting position of her Wing Champ Kart career.
Aaron Leach would have been your third place starter on the evening but had to pull his machine down pit road before the green flag was even displayed. Crew-members were seen trying to pull his power plant to life but were not having any luck, he was unable to rejoin the field in time. Was certainly not a night for the Leache’s, just a few laps Harry found himself in trouble off two and had to relinquish the lead to the #49 of Brandon Lorah followed by his brother Charlie, behind them the tandem of Jackson Jr & Roberts running third and fourth with Shawn Gervais running fifth – for now.
It didn’t take long for that to change though, just about the time I looked back to turn four from the score board Gervais had spun up the track – and because it takes a while for the karts to get around the track officials try not to throw a yellow unless it’s a bad wreck. This allowed Ryan Hudgins in the #33 kart to take over the fifth position for a moment before losing that to the #39 of Mattisen Morrill. Looking back up front to the Lorah brothers running first and second with Jackson Jr behind them it came down to the final turn on the final lap when Jackson ducked low to try and make a pass, but with the two hooked up rail to rail it was not enough and Brandon Lorah would hold on to take the win.
Hampton, VA – The official “Opening Night” has come and gone, the 65th season at Langley Speedway is still in its process of gearing up as three more divisions will hit the track for their first race of the season. The Karts with their Daytona style racing will kicks things off this evening while our special guest, the NASCAR Whelen Southern Mods are in town. The Super Streets will also look to kick things off – talking with defending track champion Sammy Gaita at open practice he feels they have another very solid car this year. We also have the Pro Six division getting things under way tonight. Now this is just my one personal opinion but I believe this is going to be the underdog, sleeper class or how ever you want to word it this year. I feel we are going to not only see a lot of these cars this year but, I feel we are going to see some exhilarating racing as well.
Just bellow here you will find the complete schedule for tonight’s program! Out of respect for the “Big Guns” I will not be covering the NWSMT race on our Twitter. However, I will have all four of the Langley Speedway local division. Make sure to follow us on Twitter (@theweeklyracer) for LIVE coverage of tonights racing. Now I usually give a start time for our coverage, today I want to see how things go at the speedway. I do not want to step on any toes while the touring series is in town. I will make sure to post something on our Facebook page, and just check back with us on Twitter through out the day.