As the most-recent Sprint Cup race winner and one of only two drivers to claim multiple wins in the young 2012 season, Denny Hamlin would be a headliner for the upcoming race weekend. Considering the destination for the Cup Series, however, he is the headliner.
Fresh off his second win of the season in last weekend's STP 400 at the Kansas Speedway, Hamlin heads to home-sweet-home for this weekend's 400-lapper at the RIchmond International Raceway. The native of Chesterfield, VA, spent many days as a child in the grandstands at Richmond before finally arriving there in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2005. A year later, he nearly won his first Sprint Cup start there before finishing second to Dale Earnhardt Jr.
It took Hamlin eight tries before he finally won at the track he called home, claiming the September 2009 race there. He added another win a year later and was second to teammate Kyle Busch in this race a year ago.
In addition to racing Saturday night for Joe Gibbs Racing, Hamlin will host and compete in his own charity late model race Thursday evening. The Denny Hamlin Short Track Challenge will feature such Sprint Cup stars as Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart, Jeff Burton, and Joey Logano, as well as Georgia's own Chase Elliott and up-and-coming Late Model racer Darrell Wallace Jr. The event benefits Hamlin's foundation, which focuses on helping those affected with Cystic Fibrosis.
With a win earlier this season on the similarly-configured Phoenix International Raceway, Hamlin is undoubtedly the pre-race favorite to get his third win of the season. Adding in the extra incentive to dominate that comes with being at home, and this weekend has the makings of a banner weekend for the local hero.