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Chesterfield native Denny Hamlin and his NASCAR buddies are hanging out in his hometown this week for the annual Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series races at Richmond International Raceway, but Hamlin had additional plans while he’s home. The Manchester HS grad ran his annual Short Track Showdown race last night at RIR, with defending NASCAR champion Tony Stewart winning the fundraising race.

The Denny Hamlin Foundation, his charitable organization, will donate the proceeds to Cystic Fibrosis research, an idea sparked by Hamlin’s cousin, Kevin Jones, who suffers from the disease. In fact, Jones was the grand marshall for Hamlin’s race last night. It was Hamlin’s 5th Showdown race since he became a full-time NASCAR driver, and forgive us if we brag here in his native land, but he’s one of the best!

Hamlin came home celebrating his second win of the season on Sunday at Kansas Motor Speedway, so he’s got momentum, he’s coming to friendly territory, and he’s racing at a track he knows very, very well. When Hamlin lines up for the Crown Royal 400 on Saturday Night, he’ll be 5th in the NASCAR point standings, and racing under the lights on Laburnum Avenue. Welcome Home Denny!

The Nationwide Series runs tonight, and that race puts another Virginian in the spotlight. That would be Nationwide points leader Elliott Sadler of Emporia, VA. Sadler has come off the block quicokly this season with two wins already, and should really be revved-up being home in Richmond at a track that he, like Denny Hamlin, knows very, very well.