CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Defending winner Jimmie Johnson will return to Team Levine and join a variety of racing stars on Wednesday, June 8 when the most celebrated dirt track in all of motor sports hosts the Prelude to the Dream.
Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, once again will 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®. Proceeds from the telecast will support four of the nation’s top children’s hospitals:
The seventh annual event will feature stars from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. All will join two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart in piloting 2,300-pound dirt Late Model stock cars capable of putting out more than 800 horsepower.
The live, commercial-free broadcast will begin at 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT) with an immediate replay. 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. 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
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: 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 receive 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 four charities – Levine Children’s Hospital, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Children’s Medical Center Dallas – all cater to the medical needs of children.
The six previous Prelude to the Dream events collectively have 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.”