BUSCH: Eight Virginians to compete at RIR

EIGHT VIRGINIANS TO RUN CIRCUIT CITY 250 PRESENTED BY FUNAI AT RICHMOND INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY The Old Dominion is known for its history, peanuts, United States presidents, beautiful mountains and beaches, and of course--great race car drivers.

EIGHT VIRGINIANS TO RUN CIRCUIT CITY 250 PRESENTED BY FUNAI AT RICHMOND INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY

The Old Dominion is known for its history, peanuts, United States presidents, beautiful mountains and beaches, and of course--great race car drivers. When the NASCAR Busch Series comes to Richmond International Raceway Friday, May 5 for the Circuit City 250 Presented by FUNAI, eight drivers hailing from Virginia will take to the track for a night of old-school, short-track action "under the lights" at America's Premier Short Track.

Representing the Commonwealth will be Elliott Sadler (Emporia), Jeff Burton (South Boston), Denny Hamlin (Chesterfield), Jon Wood (Stuart), Stacy Compton (Grit), Ashton Lewis (Chesapeake), Mark McFarland (Winchester) and Danny O'Quinn (Coeburn). (*See graphic at www.rir.com/media.) Three of the drivers--Sadler, Burton and Hamlin--are also NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series regulars. Since that trio is also running the Circuit City 250 Presented by FUNAI, 19% of the field will be Virginians.

These drivers are continuing the legacy of successful Virginia drivers started by greats like Joe Weatherly, Wendell Scott, Curtis Turner, Tommy Ellis, Ricky Rudd and Ward Burton. Carrying a torch lit by these Virginia legends is no easy task, but the current crop of talent is up for the challenge. For some, being from Virginia and racing for a win at Richmond International Raceway is more than just a desire. It's a dream.

"Everybody knows the story. I came here to watch races as a kid. I just want to go to victory lane here one time," said Sadler, whose best Richmond finish came last May when he was runner-up to Carl Edwards after a classic, last lap duel in the FUNAI 250 NASCAR Busch Series race.

Attempting to win the main event in your home state carries a lot of importance and raises expectations to a new level.

"Anytime we get to race in our home state, it's always a sense of pride," said Wood, grandson of Glen Wood, who founded Wood Brothers Racing in 1950. "You always want to do well because there are friends and family in the stands. It just seems like it's more important to do well in Virginia. So, I'm looking forward to coming here."

"Especially growing up down in Chesapeake, we made a lot of trips up here to watch the Cup races growing up, so to come here it's extra special," echoed Lewis, who finished second to Jason Keller in the May 2002 race at Richmond. "Like Jon (Wood) said, you always have a lot of friends and family coming up here to it. You put a little bit of added pressure on yourself just to perform that much better just to try to get a good run in and to make all the hometown people proud."

Hamlin, who is arguably the most promising up-and-coming star in NASCAR, has become synonymous with his hometown in the heart of Virginia.

"Part of everybody's slogan when they bring up my name is 'Chesterfield's own,' so I'm proud to be from here," said Hamlin. "It's good to be back home and I'm really excited about this race coming up."

With so many drivers representing the Commonwealth of Virginia on May 5 in the Circuit City 250 Presented by FUNAI at Richmond International Raceway, the grandstands will be full of fans representing their hometowns--all eight of them. Advance tickets for the Circuit City 250 Presented by FUNAI NASCAR Busch Series race are $45 (reserved) and $35 in general admission sections. Tickets on race day are $50 (reserved) and $40 (general admission). Children 12 and under are admitted free in general admission sections with a ticketed adult. Call 1-866-455-RACE (7223) or visit www.racetickets.com.

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Ward Burton , Jason Keller , Stacy Compton , Jon Wood , Ashton Lewis , Mark McFarland , Elliott Sadler , Denny Hamlin , Danny O'Quinn , Wendell Scott