Prelude to the Dream: 'Dirty driving,' good cause
Proceeds from HBO Pay-Per-View telecast to support four children's hospitals
By Official Release
May 11, 2011 3:21 PM, EDT
- CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The last thing any race car driver wants to be called is "dirty," but they'll make an exception to this rule on June 8 when the most celebrated dirt track in all of motorsports hosts the Prelude to the Dream.
Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, will once again be the site of the all-star dirt late-model race featuring more than 25 world renowned drivers as they battle for dirt supremacy on the half-mile clay oval, all of which will be presented live to the entire nation on HBO Pay-Per-View with proceeds from the telecast supporting four of the nation's top children's hospitals:
Prelude on HBO PPV
The live, commercial-free broadcast will begin at 8 p.m. ET with an immediate replay. HBO Pay-Per-View's racing telecast has a suggested retail price of $24.95. Ordering information and up-to-the minute racing information is available at either www.PreludeToTheDream.org
* Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte, N.C.: www.LevineChildrensHospital.org
* Children's Healthcare of Atlanta: www.choa.org
* St. Louis Children's Hospital: www.StLouisChildrens.org
* Children's Medical Center Dallas: www.childrens.com
The seventh annual event will feature stars from the Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series, Camping World Truck Series and the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. All will join two-time Cup champion Tony Stewart in driving 2,300-pound dirt late-model stock cars capable of putting out more than 800 horsepower.
The Prelude to the Dream is a team event. There is still an individual race winner, but there is also a race within the race, with the field broken up into four teams, each representing a children's hospital:
* Team Levine: Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Bill Elliott, David Reutimann, Austin Dillon, Ray Evernham and Cruz Pedregon.
* Team Atlanta: Ryan Newman, Carl Edwards, Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano, Ken Schrader, David Gilliland and Ron Capps.
* Team St. Louis: Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Bobby Labonte, Justin Allgaier, Kenny Wallace, Ron Hornaday and Ricky Carmichael.
* Team Dallas: Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Brian Vickers, Marcos Ambrose, Aric Almirola and Dave Blaney.
Each hospital will receive a donation, with the payout breakdown as follows:
* Winning team: Receives 30 percent of net proceeds raised from the pay-per-view telecast.
* Second-place team: Receives 25 percent of net proceeds raised from the pay-per-view telecast.
* Third- and fourth-place teams: Each receives 20 percent of net proceeds raised from the pay-per-view telecast.
The lowest team score wins, and only the top five drivers from each team will be scored. For example, if Team Levine has finishes of first, fourth, seventh, 11th and 18th, respectively, from its top five drivers, its score will be 41. In the event of a tie, the sixth driver will be scored.
"The team concept adds another level of excitement by having a race within the race," said Stewart, owner of Eldora Speedway and three-time winner of the Prelude to the Dream. "As individual drivers, we all want the big trophy at the end of the night. But it's cool knowing that battles for fourth and fifth and even 11th and 12th will make a big difference for what children's hospital ends up with the big check.
"We plan to raise a lot of money for all of these hospitals, no matter where their teams finish. Since HBO Pay-Per-View began televising the Prelude in 2007, we've been able to help a lot of deserving charities, and helping children has always been a part of that mission. With this format, and with the hospitals involved, we feel we have our best chance yet to make this year's Prelude our most successful one to date."
The six previous Prelude to the Dream events have collectively raised more than $3 million. With each year's event gaining significant stature and mainstream interest, Stewart's ultimate goal is to have the 2011 Prelude to the Dream raise $1 million, with the proceeds impacting the four charities.
"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."
Drivers from all types of disciplines, some with lots of dirt track experience and others with hardly any, will participate in qualifying, heat races and a 30-lap feature, all of which will be televised live on HBO Pay-Per-View.
"For the fifth year in a row we will bring live action from Eldora into living rooms across the country," said Tammy Ross, vice president, HBO Pay-Per-View & Sports. "With this year's new start time and enhancing the format of the telecast, race fans will have a chance to settle in at home and prepare for a great night of continuous, live racing action."
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 that racing legends A.J. Foyt and Mario Andretti competed on nearly 50 years ago.
Other interesting storylines include:
* More than 50 driving/riding titles represented at the Prelude: Cup Series  -- Elliott (1988), Labonte (2000), Stewart (2002, 2005), Kenseth (2003), Johnson (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010); IROC  -- Labonte (2001), Kenseth (2004), Stewart (2006); Nationwide Series  -- Labonte (1991), Edwards (2007), Bowyer (2008), Busch (2009); Camping World Truck Series  -- Hornaday (1996, 1998, 2007, 2009); ARCA  -- Allgaier (2008); IndyCar Series  -- Stewart (1997), NHRA Funny Car  -- Pedregon (1992, 2008); Camping World Series East  -- Logano (2007); Australian V8 Supercar  -- Ambrose (2003, 2004); World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series  -- Blaney (1995); AMA 125 National  -- Carmichael (1997, 1998, 1999); AMA 125 East Coast SX  -- Carmichael (1998); AMA 250 National  -- Carmichael (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006); AMA 250 Supercross  -- Carmichael (2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006); U.S. Open of Supercross  -- Carmichael (2000, 2001, 2005); WSXGP 250 Supercross  -- Carmichael (2005); MXdN  -- Carmichael (2000, 2003, 2005, 2007).
* Dirt veterans vs. dirt neophytes: Stewart, Kahne, Newman, Blaney, Bowyer, Elliott, Schrader, Allgaier and Wallace grew up on dirt tracks, while Busch, Almirola, Hamlin and Logano spent the majority of their racing upbringing on asphalt.
* What happens when a drag racer has to turn the steering wheel?: Capps is a 15-year veteran of the NHRA and Pedregon is a 17-year NHRA driver, where straight-line runs over 300 mph are commonplace. They'll have to turn right to go left as they sling their dirt late models around Eldora.
HBO Pay-Per-View's racing telecast has a suggested retail price of $24.95 and is available to more than 71 million pay-per-view homes. The live, commercial-free broadcast will begin at 8 p.m. ET with an immediate replay. HBO Pay-Per-View is the leading supplier of event programming in the pay-per-view industry. Ordering information and up-to-the minute racing information is available at either www.PreludeToTheDream.org
. Updates can also be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PreludeToDream
and on Twitter at twitter.com/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. Act fast -- the race has sold out in previous years.
* Video: Recap of last year's Prelude to the Dream