Matt Bowling beat out some of the biggest starts in NASCAR on Thursday night, claiming the win in the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown charity race, hosted by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin at South Boston (Va.) Speedway.
“I can’t believe it,” Bowling said. “The 0 (Matt Waltz) was really, really fast. I just rode and rode and saved my stuff, and it worked out that we had enough at the end. I saw he was fading a little bit, and I turned the wick up a whole lot.”
Bowling passed Matt Waltz with five laps to go to take the win. Waltz, then, had to settle for second.
Hamlin finished eighth in his race that was held to raise money for the Denny Hamlin Foundation, which supports the Cystic Fibrosis Research Lab at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University.
“We’ve had more presale tickets this year, about triple what we’ve ever had, so South Boston’s really done a great job of hosting this event,” Hamlin said. “It’s a venue that we’re looking to stay at for at least a few years and continue to grow it. Every year, we’re able to give more and more money to these children’s charities that benefit from it.”
Hamlin’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teammates at Joe Gibbs Racing, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth, finished fourth and fifth. Another Sprint Cup driver, David Ragan, was 20th.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers Jeb Burton and Timothy Peters finished outside the top-20 after an incident that involved both drivers. Burton finished 25th and Peters was 27th.
“It’s hard for the guys in the upper three series to come back and run one of these cars and be competitive,” Peters said. “It’s just that much more difficult to drive than a truck or a Nationwide car or a Cup car. You’ve got the best of the best here, in my opinion.”
Nick Smith finished third. Bobby McCarty was sixth, Myatt Snider seventh, Bruce Anderson ninth and Ryan Preece rounded out the top-10.
– Photo courtesy of NASCAR