On Wednesday, June 6 in Rossburg, Ohio, racing stars representing NASCAR, NHRA, IndyCar and the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series align in a big way with the "Prelude to the Dream."
Eldora Speedway once again will be host to the all-star dirt late-model race featuring more than 25 world renowned drivers as they battle for supremacy on the half-mile clay oval where HBO Pay-Per-View will present the event live in high definition for the first time. Net proceeds from the telecast will support Feed The Children, a U.S.-based charity that domestically has helped more than 365,000 families since 2009 through its Americans Feeding Americans Caravan.
The eighth annual event joins racing luminaries from all disciplines at one track, on one night as they drive 2,300-lb dirt late-model stock cars capable of putting out more than 800 horsepower.
The 2012 edition of the Prelude to the Dream includes hot laps, qualifying, heat races and a 40-lap feature with double-file "shootout-style" restarts. New participants include Patrick, Kinser, Schatz and Ty Dillon, who will join Stewart, Capps, Kenny Wallace and Ken Schrader as drivers who have participated in every Prelude to the Dream since 2005, where Wallace was the inaugural winner.
"We have the most diverse group of drivers we've ever had for the Prelude," said Stewart, owner of Eldora Speedway and a three-time winner of the Prelude to the Dream. "This year's event is going to be a can't-miss show. We've added 10 laps to the feature and partnered with a great charity in Feed The Children. You're going to see some intense racing by everyone, including some drivers completely out of their comfort zone. We'll all be racing for a trophy, but also to make an impact with the more than 16 million children who are at risk of going hungry right here in America."
For the top-10 finishers in the Prelude to the Dream, Feed The Children will send a food truck to each driver's hometown or city of their choice.
"This is an excellent opportunity to bring attention to the nationwide problem of child hunger by working with these world-class drivers," said Rick England, chairman, Feed The Children board of directors. "Their efforts will allow more families to put food on the table and help us provide a solution to those hard hit by the current economy."
The seven previous Prelude to the Dream events collectively have raised more than $3.5 million. With each year's event gaining significant stature and mainstream interest, Stewart's ultimate goal is to have the 2012 Prelude to the Dream raise $1 million.
"It's an ambitious goal," admits Stewart, "but if we don't set the bar high, we're not pushing ourselves the way we should. That's our goal, and me and everybody else associated with this event is going to do everything we can to meet that goal. Now, we just need everyone out there to purchase the event, enjoy all the action going on at Eldora, and know that their dollars are going to a very worthy cause."
"Each year we are thrilled to bring the exciting live action from Eldora into living rooms across the country," said Tammy Ross, vice president, HBO Pay-Per-View and Sports. "This year's benefiting organization, Feed The Children, charities' mission is that no child should go to bed hungry, and the HBO Pay-Per-View team is thrilled to bring the Prelude to the Dream to fans everywhere to help further that mission."
With no points and no pressure, the Prelude to the Dream is a throwback race, allowing drivers to step back in time and compete for the reasons they all went racing in the first place – pride and a trophy. And they'll do it on the same surface racing legends A.J. Foyt and Mario Andretti competed on nearly 50 years ago.
Tony Kanaan of the ZOD IndyCar Series again will compete against former rival Danica Patrick, now a NASCAR regular. They'll rub fenders with straight-liners Ron Capps and Cruz Pedregon of the NHRA Drag Racing Series. Dirt regulars Steve Kinser and Donny Schatz, who collectively have won 24 World of Outlaws championships, will race for the first time in dirt late models. All will join NASCAR stars such as Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer, Ryan Newman, Kasey Kahne, Bobby Labonte and many others, including a band of brothers: the Busch brothers – Kurt and Kyle – and the Dillon brothers – Austin and Ty.
“It's always a pleasure to come back, and unfortunately we don't have a lot of time to test,” said Kanaan who's finished 24th and 27th the past two years at this event. “I can't thank (track owner and event organizer) Tony (Stewart) enough for inviting me. I always enjoy it and look forward to it again.”
“It's only two times that I've raced those cars on that type of track, but my mentality is to have fun and get IndyCar out there in an environment that's not ours,” he added.
The commercial-free, HD broadcast will begin at 8 p.m. ET with an immediate replay. The Prelude to the Dream has a pay-per-view price of $24.95. Ordering information and up-to-the minute racing information is available at either www.PreludeToTheDream.org or www.HBO.com. Updates also can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PreludeToDream and on Twitter at twitter.com/PreludeToDream (@PreludeToDream).
For those who want to see the Prelude to the Dream in person, tickets are available online at www.EldoraSpeedway.com or by calling the track office (937) 338-3815.