According to a report in the Virginia-based Daily Press, the 2016 Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown scheduled for April 21 at Langley Speedway (VA) has been canceled. The report, which has confirmed by Speed51.com powered by JEGS on Wednesday evening, comes amidst uncertainty surrounding the future of the 4/10-mile oval located in Hampton, Virginia.
“This is due to the situation at Langley Speedway,” event coordinator Buck Reuss said in the report published by Daily Press. “I don’t blame anyone operating the track, because I think (Victory Lane Motorsports owner) Bill Mullis and (Langley Speedway general manager) Chuck Hall have done more for the track than anyone since Joe Carver (Langley’s promoter from the mid-1970s to early ’80s).
“But the drivers needed to set their schedules by Jan. 5 at the latest.”
Each year, the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown features the best of the best in Late Model Stock Car racing going up against some of NASCAR’s biggest stars. Hamlin himself, Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart and Chase Elliott are among the stars to have competed in the invitation-only, non-points NASCAR sanctioned race in recent years.
The 2015 version of the race, which was won by NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Timothy Peters, was hosted by South Boston Speedway in Virginia. It was announced in September that the race would be moved to Langley in 2016, but the uncertainty surrounding stock car racing at the facility forced event organizers to cancel this year’s running of the prestigious race.
Uncertainty surrounding the race track’s future stems from the ongoing negotiations between track lessee Bill Mullis and the California-based owner of the property. Mullis leased the facility in recent years and has recently made attempts to purchase the race track. A stalemate between the two parties in the negotiation process has the future of short track racing at the facility in doubt.
A report on 13Newsnow.com indicated that Mullis and track promoter Chuck Hall recently moved much of their property out of the speedway; however, Hall insisted on Tuesday afternoon that negotiations were ongoing.
Whether there will be racing held at Langley Speedway in 2016 is in doubt, but one thing is now certain: the 2016 Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown will not take place in Hampton, Virginia.
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Langley Speedway Facebook