Ricky Carmichael Returns to Dirt by Trading Two Wheels for Four at Eldora
“G.O.A.T.” Will Compete in Gillette Fusion ProGlide Prelude to the Dream
ROSSBURG, Ohio (June 3, 2010) – Ricky Carmichael might understand the nuances of racing on dirt better than any of the drivers competing in the Gillette Fusion ProGlide Prelude to the Dream June 9 at the legendary Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio.
He earned the nickname “GOAT,” as in “Greatest Of All Time,” by scoring an incredible 15 American Motorcycle Association (AMA) championships – 10 consecutive Motocross titles and five Supercross titles – and becoming the winningest rider in history with 150 victories before retiring from the sport at the end of 2007 to embark on a career in stock car racing.
So, Eldora’s dirt surface won’t be unfamiliar to Carmichael, but the four-wheel dirt Late Model that he’ll wheel in the all-star race will provide a hefty challenge to the Tallahassee, Fla., native. Not that Carmichael’s ever backed down from a challenge before.
“I’m really excited to be invited to Prelude to the Dream,” said Carmichael, who is currently running a full season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. “I’ve watched it several times on HBO Pay-Per-View and it’s just a fun event for a good cause. I can’t wait to get there.
“Growing up on dirt – racing motorcycles, not a car – I’ve always felt like I know the dirt a little bit better. That’s always been intriguing to me, and it’s a cool event and it just looks fun. You get to compete, but at a fun level. It’s almost like an X-Games event, but for car racing. Obviously, it’s not as crazy as the X-Games, but the racing is good and it’s a fun atmosphere. It’s all about the athletes, the fans and raising money.”
The Gillette Fusion ProGlide Prelude to the Dream will be presented live to the entire nation on HBO Pay-Per-View® with net proceeds from the telecast supporting four of the nation’s top children’s hospitals:
• Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis: www.RileyChildrensHospital.com
• Cincinnati Children’s: www.CincinnatiChildrens.org
• Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, N.C.: www.LevineChildrensHospital.org
• St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.: www.StJude.org
The event is headlined by the Gillette Young Guns: Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards and Joey Logano. All will join two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart and many others, including fellow Sprint Cup champions Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, Bobby Labonte and Bill Elliott. Action sports legend Travis Pastrana and will also participate. All will pilot 2,300-pound dirt Late Model stock cars capable of putting out more than 800 horsepower.
“There’s a lot of history at Eldora,” Carmichael said. “I’ve seen a lot of racing on TV at Eldora, and heard a lot about it from guys like Clint (Bowyer) and (Ken) Schrader, so to even to go there and watch is one thing, but to have the opportunity to compete at the Prelude with all these guys is something that if you would’ve asked me two years ago I would’ve said, ‘Man, you’re crazy. No way.’ There’s a ton of history there, so for someone in my position to be there and be able to do what I’m going to be able to do is pretty awesome.”
In Carmichael’s transition from motorcycles to NASCAR, he has had to adapt not only to four-wheel vehicles, but also from dirt to pavement. The fact that the dirt surface at Eldora will be familiar to him is not lost on the 30-year-old.
“It’s definitely been a challenge going from two wheels to four wheels and trying to catch up with lost seat time, but I think that racing four wheels on dirt, the transition will become a lot closer in learning that edge because, basically, that’s what I’m doing in a stock car in NASCAR – learning that edge and who can control that edge the best. That learning curve is going to be so much shorter just for the fact that I have so much time on dirt and raced all my life on dirt, other than the last two years of this. So, I look for myself to adapt a little bit better on the dirt than I did on asphalt.”
Beyond the charity element, this year’s Gillette Fusion ProGlide Prelude to the Dream is a team event. There will still be an individual race winner, but there will now be a race within the race, with the field broken up into four teams, each representing a children’s hospital:
• Team Riley: Bowyer (captain), Ryan Newman, Gordon, A.J. Allmendinger, Kenny Wallace and Ron Capps.
• Team Cincinnati: Kahne (captain), Logano, Stewart, Labonte, Elliott and Cruz Pedregon.
• Team Levine: Busch (captain), Johnson, Kenseth, David Reutimann, Dave Blaney, Marcos Ambrose and Pastrana.
• Team St. Jude: Hamlin (captain), Edwards, Schrader, Aric Almirola, Carmichael and Ray Evernham.
Each hospital will receive a donation, with the payout breakdown as follows:
• Winning team receives 45 percent of net money raised.
• Second-place team receives 25 percent of net money raised.
• Third- and fourth-place teams each receive 15 percent of net money raised.
The lowest team score wins, and only the top-five drivers from each team will be scored. For example, if Team Riley 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.
“It’s so much fun to do events like this with all the people and the energy that will be there,” Carmichael added. “It should raise some great money for the children, and I have two children of my own, so anything to help is huge. It’s great for all of us to get together, and it’s great for me to be a part of it.”
Carmichael will join drivers from all types of disciplines, some with lots of dirt track experience and others with hardly any, and will participate in hot laps, qualifying, heat races and a 30-lap feature, all of which will be televised live on HBO Pay-Per-View.
With no points and no pressure, the Gillette Fusion ProGlide 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 like A.J. Foyt and Mario Andretti competed on throughout the last 56 years.
The live, commercial-free broadcast will begin at 7 p.m. EDT (4 p.m. PDT) 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. 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 or www.HBO.com.
For those who want to see the Gillette Fusion ProGlide 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 each of its five previous years.
Complete event information can be found in the Gillette Fusion ProGlide Prelude to the Dream online media kit at www.TrueSpeedMedia.com.