There'll be added spice – make that $30,000 of added spice – when Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin go head to head in Friday night's NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Richmond International Raceway.
The highest-finishing driver of the pair will get to donate $20,000 to the charity of his choice, while the “loser” will donate $10k to his chosen charity. The win-win deal comes courtesy of furniture-maker Z-Line Designs, which is sponsoring both cars at the Virginia bullring this weekend, and JGR.
Z-Line founder and CEO Jim Sexton and JGR each donated $10,000 to the pot – and that's been matched by Sexton's wife, Monica, who'll be rooting for Hamlin and the No. 20 team, while her husband cheers for Busch's No.18 crew.
Busch's chosen charity is Racing for Kids, an organization which uses motorsports to focus public attention and funding on the health care needs of children, and Hamlin's is Operation Helmet, a 100-percent volunteer organization that provides helmet upgrade kits free of charge to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“I think Denny, Dave (Rogers, No. 20 crew chief) and those guys are always tough, because their equipment is the same as ours, and we know how good that is,” said Busch, who leads the 2009 Nationwide Series standings and won the May race at RIR. “It would certainly be the icing on the cake to get Jim and Z-Line the win, but also bring home some more money for Racing for Kids.”
“Those 18 guys have been tough all year,” added Virginia native and spring 2008 RIR race-winner Hamlin. “I know Monica's going to be on my pit box, so we're going to try and win the race and finish ahead of Kyle to give her bragging rights and raise some money for Operation Helmet.”
The Virginia 529 College Savings 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race airs live 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2.