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Apr 23, 2014 - 06:24 AM
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Kyle Busch - No. 51 JEGS.com Camry Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown Preview
Posted by: newsla on Apr 23, 2014 - 06:15 AM
Kyle Busch - No. 51 JEGS.com Camry Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown Preview

While the venue is changing for the third time, one thing that remains constant for the seventh annual Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown is that Kyle Busch was one of the first competitors to commit to the event and is sure to be at the top of the list of the names to beat. Busch collected victories in the first two runnings of the event, which is held to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Research Lab at the Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU, when it was held at Southside Speedway in Midlothian, Va. and dominated last year's race at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway (RIR). Now, "Rowdy" will strap into his No. 51 JEGS.com Camry Thursday night at South Boston (Va.) Speedway for 200 laps around the .4-mile oval in an attempt to claim his fourth Showdown win at the third different venue.


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"I'm looking forward to getting to South Boston on Thursday and seeing how our JEGS.com Camry stacks up against a great field that includes NASCAR drivers like Denny (Hamlin) and Matt (Kenseth) competing in a different type of vehicle and some of the guys that race these cars every weekend like Lee Pulliam, Peyton Sellers and C.E. Falk," said Busch, the event's only multiple-race winner. "I think we have a strong shot to get our fourth Showdown victory, but regardless it will be a great event because of all the money it raises for the Denny Hamlin Foundation to contribute to the research in the fight for people with Cystic Fibrosis."

Last year Busch, who was driving the first-ever late model stock car built in-house by KBM Chassis, put his No. 51 Camry at the front of the field on lap eight of the 75-lap race and never looked back en route to his first win in the event since it was moved from Southside Speedway to RIR.

The Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) late model team will be brining that same chassis to this year's event. With Busch partaking in NASCAR Nationwide Series practice at RIR on Thursday afternoon, Erik Jones will get behind the wheel of the No. 51 JEGS.com Camry for the lone practice session on Wednesday and the first two of three sessions on Thursday. Jones, the youngest winner in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series history, also raced the same Toyota in the weekly Twin 75 races earlier this month at South Boston, finishing eighth and third respectively.

"After renting cars for the Showdown for a few years, last year we decided to build the first-ever late model stock out of the KBM chassis shop," Busch said. "The guys did an awesome job with it and all of their hard work paid off as I was able to get my first win in the event since they moved it from Southside to Richmond. This year we're bringing that same Camry with a body from Five Star Race Car Bodies and an UltraTech engine powering it, so I expect it will be fast again. I'm confident that when I get to the track for final practice on Thursday, Erik and the guys will have a good baseline setup and we can just fine tune it and get ready for the race."

The Las Vegas native has raced at South Boston twice in his career. He scored a 10th-place finish in the 2002 American Speed Association (ASA) National Tour stop at the Virginia track and ran the Pro All Star Series (PASS) Super Late Model Mason-Dixon Meltdown in 2006. Busch won his heat in the PASS event, but was unable to finish the feature due to an engine issue.

Joining primary sponsor JEGS.com as associate sponsors on Rowdy's Camry for Thursday's event are Arnette Sunglasses, Axalta Coating Systems, ADP Careers, Monster Energy and Sunglass Hut.

Notable wins for the KBM Late Model team since its inception in 2007 include: Wisconsin All-Star 100 at the Milwaukee Mile (Kyle Busch 2008), Red Bud 300 at Anderson Speedway (Kyle Busch 2009), Winchester 400 at Winchester Speedway (Kyle Busch 2009 & Erik Jones 2013), Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway (Kyle Busch 2009 & Erik Jones 2013), SpeedFest at Lanier National Speedway (Kyle Busch 2009 & 2010), SpeedFest at Watermelon Capital Speedway (Kyle Busch 2012), Rowdy 251 at Berlin Raceway (Kyle Busch 2010, 2011 and 2012), All-American 400 at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville (TJ Reaid 2010), Slinger Nationals at Slinger Super Speedway (Kyle Busch 2011) the Oxford 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway (Kyle Busch 2011), Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown at Richmond International Raceway (Kyle Busch 2013) and the Howie Lettow Memorial at the Milwaukee Mile (Kyle Busch 2013).

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