Jun 7, 2011

It is time for racing to return to its roots once again as drivers from a variety of motorsports are set to get down and dirty at the Prelude to the Dream at legendary dirt track, Eldora Speedway.

On Wednesday, June 8, for the seventh year in a row, 28 world class drivers from a variety of motorsports have been assigned to four teams competing for four medical facilities that serve the needs of children in four different markets.

The teams are:

Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Bill Elliot, David Reutimann, Austin Dillon, Ray Evernham and drag racer Cruz Pedregon will represent Levine Children’s Hospital.

Ryan Newman, Carl Edwards, Clint Bowyer, Jason Leffler, Ken Schrader, David Gilliland and drag racer Ron Capps will compete for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Bobby Labonte, Justin Allgaier, Kenny Wallace, Ron Hornaday and Ricky Carmichael will drive for St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Tony Kanaan, Brian Vickers, Marcos Ambrose, Aric Almirola and J.J. Yeley will represent Children’s Medical Center of Dallas.

“Over the last six years, we’ve been able to raise $3 million for different charities across the country,” said Stewart. “I think the first year we had 17 drivers that came, and now we’re up to 25 a year, and there’s a waiting list of drivers actually waiting to come to the event, which I am honored to have. These drivers are what make it happen.”

Johnson was the winner of last year’s race and Levine Children’s Hospital was the winning team in 2010. The top-five finishers on each team are scored, with the lowest combined score winning.

Kansas native Bowyer is a favorite to win the event, as one of the most consistent Prelude participants. Bowyer is the only participant to finish in the top five in each Prelude event from 2007 to 2010.  Bowyer grew up racing on dirt tracks and owns his own dirt late model team with driver Dale McDowell.

Edwards returns for his fourth Prelude event after finishing third in 2010. Edwards grew up racing on dirt tracks as well, and has past success at Eldora. He won the Prelude in 2007 as a rookie.

O’Reilly Auto Parts 250 pole winner Dillon comes to Eldora for his first Prelude event with a lot of experience on the dirt. Dillon still competes in select dirt late model races across the southeast when his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule permits. Fans should expect his car to run up front all night.

Track owner and three-time Prelude winner Stewart is always a favorite to win. Last year, he started at the rear of the field and finished sixth.

Another contender for the Prelude win is Hamlin, who has limited dirt experience, but had one of the fastest cars in the 2010 Prelude and finished fifth.

The winning team gets the largest share of the proceeds for its charity. The winning team’s charity will receive 30% of the net money raised by Eldora Speedway through television subscriptions; the second place team’s charity will receive 25%, the third and fourth 20%.

HBO Pay-Per-View will televise the Prelude commercial-free and will start at 8 PM June 8, with an immediate replay to follow. The cost of the telecast is $24.95, with the proceeds supporting all four of the designated charities.