Prelude to The Dream

Once again I have spent another June evening watching the Prelude.  If you have never caught the Prelude to the Dream, well you are missing out on some fantastic racing.  This is my fourth year of watching the event.  It is a pay per view event, however proceeds go to the charity the event benefits each year.  This year it was Feed The Children.

The Prelude is held each year at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio.  Eldora is owned by NASCAR driver Tony Stewart.  Each year Tony invites many of his fellow NASCAR drivers to compete in late-model cars on this dirt track in Ohio.  NASCAR car drivers are not the only ones who are invited each year either. Tony also invites drivers from NHRA and IRL.  I usually don’t compare the ball and stick sports to NASCAR because NASCAR, in my opinion, is different from ball and stick sports on many levels.  But this type of racing on dirt is like being at a minor league baseball game.  Drivers are racing for no points, but bragging rights.  This year was no different.

All the usual suspects were there this year–Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne, Kenny Schrader, Kenny Wallace and yes, even 5-time himself Jimmie Johnson.  This year’s drivers also included Danica Patrick.  I found this very intriguing.  This was going to be the first time she would race in this type of race car and on this type of racing service.  She didn’t do too bad for her first time on dirt.  In case you haven’t watched late-model dirt racing, you have to turn right to go left.  It felt like she was a fish out of water but at least she gave it a shot.  I still wonder why Dale Jr hasn’t tried his hand at this event.  I think they could really draw quite a crowd if Dale Jr. ran it one time.  Of course, they draw a crowd for this event becuase of the love Tony has for Eldora and this event.

I was not disappointed.  I thought it was quite funny when Tony took Darryl Waltrip around the track in his late-model car.  I swear I think DW was screaming like a little girl the whole time he was in the car.  It was pretty hilarious.   Tony knows what he was doing and I don’t believe he lifted once.  Talk about your E-ticket ride!  Another great moment prior to the race was Tony’s presentation to Dick Bergren.  He gave Dick a racing helmet he wore during his championship season last year.  In case you weren’t aware, last weekend was Dick’s last race as a report for Fox.  I will miss him.  He was one of the best!

Kasey Kahne and Clint Bowyer clearly had the best cars of the night.  They were going at pretty good until Clint got into the wall.  I thought Kasey Kahne was going to run away with the even after Clint was knocked out.  But even on the dirt track Kasey is snake bit.  He ran into a stranded Bobby Labonte.  I don’t know if Kasey saw him, but that was a nasty crash.  It was nasty enough to take off one of Kasey’s wheels.  I believe Kasey saw him, but due to the racing surface couldn’t stop in time.  This opened the door for Kyle Busch.  It was pretty much that way the rest of the race.  Tony was trying to get make his way towards the front, but didn’t have enough laps left.  Congratulations to Kyle Busch!

One of these days I would love to make the pilgrimage to Eldora to watch the event live.  I love watching dirt racing.  It brings me back to those Saturday nights in Amarillo when my family would head out to the dirt track.  It wasn’t a complete Saturday night until you go some of that mud in your hair that was flung from the cars on the race track.  I can still hear the sounds of the cars as the went around the track.  It brings me back to a time when I was carefree and had my future in front of me.

Thank you Tony Stewart!

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