The Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown, which drew an estimated 7,000 fans to Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway a year ago, has been canceled for the 2019 season.
Race coordinator Buck Reuss said that the Denny Hamlin Foundation, which conducts the charity stock car racing event, sent him a statement on Wednesday about the status of the Showdown, which had been scheduled for April 11 at Langley.
“At this time, there are no plans to host Denny Hamlin’s Short Track Showdown in 2019,” the DHF statement read. “A lot of factors need to properly align in order to produce an event like this.
“The Denny Hamlin Foundation has been fortunate to host the charity race nine times over the last 11 years, benefiting Cystic Fibrosis research and therapy. We anticipate the Short Track Showdown will return to the racing calendar in future years.”
The 2019 showdown featured two-time Daytona 500 winner Hamlin, a former division champion at Langley, and former NASCAR Cup champion Kyle Busch, against a quality field of regional stock car drivers. Hamlin edged Busch to win the race.
Reuss said that despite the large crowd, the race is expensive to put on because of its purse of more than $100,000 last year and expensive Late Model rentals for three of the drivers, including Hamlin and Busch. He said that the foundation would like to continue its relationship with Langley in the future, perhaps with a more economical special race that includes a meet-and-greet with Hamlin and other stars.
Days before his victory in the recent Daytona 500, Hamlin spoke to reporters about the Showdown and his desire to give back to grass roots racing.
“I wanted to see something that the short-track guys enjoyed going to, something of a big race that they look at and want to win, one that they consider very prestigious,” he said. “We had a couple of those events in my day racing Late Models.
“There were four or five of them that were marquee events. You knew ‘if you win this one, you’ve beaten the best competition.’ For me, it’s carrying on that legend.
“It’s one of our most important fund raisers. I always say, `one of’ the most important, but it’s also certainly not the most profitable. But it’s not meant to be.
“It’s really about giving back to the short-track community more so than raising money for the charity. If we made zero dollars then it was still a good weekend for us.”
– Via Langley Speedway