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Apr 24, 2014 - 06:19 AM
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Jeb Burton Steps-Up To Support Denny Hamlin Foundation
Posted by: newsla on Apr 24, 2014 - 06:16 AM
NASCAR News
Jeb Burton Steps-Up To Support Denny Hamlin Foundation


Fresh off a successful two-day test of his No. 13 Carolina Nut Co. / Curb Records Toyota Tundra with his ThorSport Racing team at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Jeb Burton's ready for some home cooking Thursday night in the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown at South Boston (Va.) Speedway.

 

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The event benefits the Denny Hamlin Cystic Fibrosis Research Lab at the Children's Hospital of Richmond, Va., at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Burton, whose two starts in NASCAR Late Model Stock Cars this season at South Boston have resulted in two top-seven finishes in his No. 4 Toyota Camry, is faced with a little stiffer competition -- including no less than four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regulars -- so he knows he'll have to do more.

"It's a great charity event and that's why we're all there, but it's not any fun unless you run good," Burton said on Tuesday at Charlotte. "Supporting Denny's foundation sounds good, and it is -- but it's all business once we get there.

"I look at it just like I do every weekend I've raced with our ThorSport Tundra. I'm there to do good and I want to win. We've got State Water Heaters and Rocky Ridge Conversions on board so that's cool, too."

Burton raced in the season-opening twin-100 late model events at South Boston and finished third and seventh in a pair of races that were won by former NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion Peyton Sellers. But even with 200 laps under his belt Burton knows he'll have to be on his proverbial game.

"South Boston is a tough little racetrack," Burton said of the 4/10ths-mile oval where NASCAR's Truck Series and Nationwide Series have raced in the past. "If your car's not handling right you're not going to run good -- just like anywhere. If their cars are handling better than mine they're going to run better than me but I think with my experience there -- I know some things about that track -- will help me.

"But they are all good racecar drivers and they catch-on fast. We're just going to have to get our stuff handling right, like I want it to, so we can be there at the end of the race."

Kyle Busch is returning to Hamlin's special race in 2014 as the defending champion, 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 additional national-series NASCAR drivers Elliott Sadler, Timothy Peters, Gray Gaulding and Drew Herring as well as former racer and current television analyst Hermie Sadler.

Several top area late model drivers, including NASCAR Touring champion George Brunnhoelzl III and 2010 Whelen All-American Series national champion Keith Rocco will also compete in the race.

The race, held the Thursday night before the Sprint Cup Series event at Richmond International Raceway, moves this year to South Boston, the Virginia short track that hosts Whelen All-American Weekly Series events, and where Elliott Sadler, Peters and Herring have won track championships -- and where Burton has numerous late model wins.

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.

"I definitely want to go there and have a good night and run in the top five," Burton said. "I really want to run well in front of my hometown crowd -- that will be fun, to see them supporting us and more than anything, Denny's foundation.

"I think it's going to be exciting and I think you're going to see some people do some dumb things (laughing). People will be aggressive and there will be some crashing, definitely. Usually in the late models, when you have these big races people drive over their head so there's gonna be some wreckin' going on and some excitement -- we've just got to stay out of it."

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 continues to encourage more of his fellow NASCAR drivers to take part in the race. Busch is the 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."

Tickets are available at the track, with a $5 discount for advance purchases. General admission is $20 for adults ($25 on race day) and $10 for ages 12-17 ($15 on race day). Children ages 11 and under will be admitted free with a paying adult.

Grandstand gates will open at 10 a.m. ET Thursday. Practice for the 49 entries is from 1-4 p.m. Final practice and qualifying is scheduled at 5:30 p.m. Qualifying races will roll at 6:30 p.m. and the 200-lap Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown is scheduled for approximately 8 p.m.

For additional information on any event at South Boston Speedway, please call (434) 572-4947 or (877) 440-1540.

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