Hamlin's race helps charities

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When Denny Hamlin decides to throw a party for charity he goes full speed.

The driver will play host to the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown tonight at Richmond International Raceway to benefit his foundation, which works to create awareness and treatment for cystic fibrosis by supporting The Children's Hospital of Richmond, St. Jude's Hospital and Victory Junction Gang Camp.

There are 56 entries for the 175-lap Late Model race, including NASCAR drivers Hamlin, Tony Stewart , Trevor Bayne , Michael Waltrip , Joey Logano , Kasey Kahne , Jason White , Hermie Sadler , Kyle Busch , Aric Almirola and Travis Pastrana . Martinsville Speedway president Clay Campbell also is entered, as well as most of the top Late Model drivers from Virginia and North Carolina.

The race will follow the Blue Ox 100 for the NASCAR K&N Series.

"The event has grown every year and we've been so fortunate to raise support through my foundation for some outstanding organizations," Hamlin said. "The competition will be intense with several Cup drivers signed on, as well as a few racing celebrities and, of course, several outstanding short track drivers. It's going to be a great night of racing with the opportunity to help a lot of people."

The benefit race used to be held at Southside Speedway near Richmond, a track where Hamlin made his racing debut in 1997 in the Mini Stock division. That track was a victim of the current economic decline and was closed for the 2011 racing season.

FIVE HALL nominees ADDED: Bobby Isaac , Cotton Owens , Leonard Wood , Les Richter and H. Clay Earles were added to this year's group of 20 nominees for the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Isaac and Owens were drivers, while Wood is part of the legendary Wood Brothers Racing team. Richter is a former NASCAR official who also opened Auto Club Speedway in Southern California. Earles founded Martinsville Speedway.

A panel will meet on June 14 to select five new entries into the 2012 class.

Bobby Allison , David Pearson , Lee Petty , Bud Moore and Ned Jarrett will take their place in the hall of fame in Charlotte in May.

NASCAR AWARD BANQUETS SET: The Sprint Cup Series Awards Banquet will return to the Wynn Las Vegas on Dec. 2, NASCAR announced. The sanctioning body also said the Nationwide and Camping World Truck series banquets will be held together on Nov. 21 at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel.


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