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7 Days to the Prelude to the Dream: Pre-Race Quotes from Stewart, Johnson, Busch, Hamlin, Ambrose and Carmichael

Eldora SpeedwayGillette Fusion ProGlide Prelude to the Dream Quotes
Pre-Race Quotes from Stewart, Johnson, Busch, Hamlin, Ambrose and Carmichael

ROSSBURG, Ohio (June 2, 2010) – The following are pre-race quotes from select drivers participating in the Gillette Fusion ProGlide Prelude to the Dream June 9 at the legendary Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio.

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:

• Cincinnati Children’s:

• Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, N.C.:

• St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.:

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 superstar Travis Pastrana and former motocross champion Ricky Carmichael will also participate. All will pilot 2,300-pound dirt Late Model stock cars capable of putting out more than 800 horsepower.

And 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, Ken 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.

Drivers from all types of disciplines, some with lots of dirt-track experience and others with hardly any, 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 or

For those who want to see the Gillette Fusion ProGlide Prelude to the Dream in-person, tickets are available online at or by calling the track office (937) 338-3815. Act fast – the race has sold out each of the previous five years.

Complete event information can be found in the Gillette Fusion ProGlide Prelude to the Dream online media kit at

TONY STEWART, (Two-Time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion & Three-Time Prelude Winner; Owner, Eldora Speedway):

What are your thoughts on the Prelude, given how it’s grown since the first year in 2005?

“You kind of have the feeling of what I would assume a proud father feels like. You watch us start from something really small and get bigger and better every year, and that makes you proud. And, thankfully, I’ve got a great staff that put it all together and make all the logistics happen. We have great people from the production side, great partners with Gillette who have helped us make this bigger and better each year. And it’s just neat to watch it grow. It’s neat to take what we did the year before and say ‘OK, now how do we make it better next year and make it better for the fans, make it better for the drivers and the teams, and how can we just keep growing this event and making it bigger and larger.”

How did you come up with the new format for this year, which involves four teams of drivers?

“We’ve run really well there, obviously, in the last five years, but we tried to figure out how we could make everybody in the field and everybody’s position count in the race. So having a team concept of four different teams and trying to handicap the teams, where you’ve got guys who have run really well year after year and guys who have struggled and not necessarily had good luck, we’re making sure we keep these teams as even as possible but knowing that, depending on which team wins the event, it’s extra money towards that particular charity of the four charities. So it’s just adding a different element that makes everybody’s position in the race count. I’ve never done a team event like this. We’ve had team races, where we shared the same car and three or four people drove, but not an event where the guys you’re competing against, some of those guys are actually on your team, and I don’t know if we’ll all be smart enough to be able to remember who’s on each other’s team while we’re out there and trying to take care of each other. But the one thing we will be able to do is, at the end of the night, know that not only do we have a race winner, but we also have the team winners, too.”

This year the net monies raised from the Prelude will benefit four children’s hospitals. Talk about that.

“It’s really important. We’ve kind of got in the mode, now, where we’re changing the charities each year and this was something that made a lot of sense for us. I mean, we’re very passionate about children, obviously, and having the four teams support four different children’s hospitals and bringing awareness to them is huge. So the money we can raise in this event will go a long way.”

JIMMIE JOHNSON, (Four-Time and Reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion):

What are your overall thoughts on the Prelude?

“I’m extremely happy to be a part of it. Tony has created an event that people really want to go to and we’ve got a great partner with HBO and the pay-per-view program that’s hopefully going raise a lot of money and a lot of interest. It is going be exciting. It’s different and it will be fun to try to keep up with things, and understand the points and what drivers are where and how that affects each team. So I’m excited for it. I first of all feel very fortunate to be invited back. I can’t thank Tony enough for including me and I’m very proud of Tony and our sport and all the drivers for showing up and supporting these four great causes.”

Last year, you drove a dirt Late Model for the first time at Eldora. Talk about that.

“It’s been a big learning curve for me. The cars are totally different than anything I’d ever sat in or driven before. And I feel like I’m getting closer. Last year, I won a heat race and was able to outrun Tony in that heat race. So I’m making gains. I got off to a rocky start in practice, I’ll have to admit, and then got things going right in the heat race. So I’m looking forward to it. It’s so different to drive those cars with the rear ends moving and shifting like they do. They’re easy to get through the turn but the straightaways seem to be the hardest part for me. It’s hard to make that thing go in a straight line.”

You won a heat race last year and kept Tony behind you to get that victory. Talk about that.

“It was cool. I was extremely nervous in the car. I knew Tony was back there, I knew he was coming at some point. Without having mirrors or a spotter, I didn’t know that I had a big lead and I didn’t know if the line I was using was working. I didn’t know much, so I just ran as hard as I could, and the last two laps took it easy and he kind of caught back up to me, but it was such a thrill. To be in a car that you’re not familiar with and out of your element, and to run well and win, was really cool. It was tough and I ran scared, I just didn’t know if I could hold him off and I felt like if I could run second to him, that would be a pretty big feat. And then, as the laps started winding down, I thought, ‘Man, I really have a shot at this thing. I’m leading it and he hasn’t passed me yet.’”

KYLE BUSCH, (2009 NASCAR Nationwide Series Champion; Captain of Team Levine):

What do you think about the concept of having four teams?

“I think it’s pretty neat with the team concept, because now we get to participate not just as one driver but with a team of drivers that is going to be put together in order to try to beat the other teams. So you’re never going to know exactly which team wins until you get down to the end, knowing there are so many different variables within this race.”

You have had a lot of success in several different types of cars. Talk about your dirt experience at the Prelude.

“I’ve been at the Prelude a couple of times, now, and my first time there I ran third, last year I ran third. So there was a year in there where I kind of struggled a little bit – didn’t hit it the way I wanted to – but still had a lot of fun and it’s a neat deal to be involved in. Really, it’s for a great cause and that’s why we all love to do it and try to help support Tony and the foundation and everything that he’s trying to get going.”

Talk about the history of Eldora and the fast line around the track.

“You always want to race at the tracks with a lot of history. The Milwaukee Mile was a historic racetrack and there are plenty of others, like Daytona and Indianapolis, that we go to. But Eldora is a lot of fun. It’s got the flat bottom, it’s got the high banks up near the outside walls and it’s always a good show. I’ve found success around the top of the track. Any time I try to go to the bottom, I just get too loose and I can’t get a run off the bottom of the racetrack. So, for me, it’s always about trying to hook it right up on the cushion on the top of the track and get as much momentum built around that place as you can.”

DENNY HAMLIN, (11 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories; Captain of Team St. Jude):

Talk about the new team concept.

“It’s definitely a new element, for sure. It’s tough for me to go to a racetrack and pull for somebody else I’m going be racing against, but we’re definitely going be looking at our teammates. I really don’t think I ever have been in a team race before, so I might have that list actually on my dash so I make sure I don’t take those guys out. I think the most important thing is you don’t want to be the guy who drags the team down, so you’ve got to finish the race. That’s important.”

Talk about your role as captain of Team St. Jude.

“Children’s charities are one of the main focuses of my own foundation, so to represent St. Jude, it couldn’t be more appropriate to be the team captain for them. A lot of our money from our foundation actually goes to St. Jude. So, one way or another, we’re going to be able to help out a lot of kids.”

Why should someone at home purchase the Pay-Per-View event?

“Tony’s done a really good job of making it a great event, not just a race. There’s always entertainment, whether it be the interviews, Dick Berggren in the middle of the pits, getting under the hood with the mechanics and things like that. It’s short-track racing at its best and it almost feels like a normal Saturday night. I feel, when I go back there, it’s just a normal a Saturday-night racetrack that I grew up on. It’s just with a few more TV cameras and a lot bigger of an audience watching.”

MARCOS AMBROSE, (Two-time Australian V8 Supercar champion):

What are your thoughts on the team element to this year’s Prelude?

“It’s just great for us. It’s all about the kids. All about helping out sick children, terminally ill children. I’m racing for Team Levine. I’m really excited about that. We’ve got a great crew on our side. Hopefully, we’re going to win the event. A lot of the money that gets raised through the Pay-Per-View telecast is going to go back to the children’s hospitals. Tony and the whole Eldora crew and all the drivers do a great job. It’s just a wonderful event and it’s even more special, now, the way they structured it. I think it’s going to be a benefit to the children’s hospitals with the money we can raise and it’s going to raise a lot of awareness and we’re going to have a lot of fun doing it. It’s going to be fun.”

You were a late addition to the 2009 Prelude. Are you more excited this year with a little time to prepare?

“I’m fully into it. You’re up against the best drivers in the world on TV, raising a lot of money for a great cause, but we’re all competitive, too. So, there is pressure on and I want to do well, so I’ve spent time getting ready for it. Obviously, I’m up against some stiff competition and I want to try and match it with them.”

You’ve raced all over the world. What did you think the first time you saw Eldora and the event as a whole?

“Oh my, what have I gotten myself into? I mean, it’s just totally foreign to me. The groove is right up against the fence. There’s no margin for error. The speeds are high. You can do a lot of damage on dirt. I didn’t realize that. You can actually tear a lot of stuff up, so it’s an intimidating place. As a Sprint car fan, if you know two tracks, you know Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway and you know Eldora. So, to have your first proper race on dirt at Eldora was quite intimidating, but I’m looking forward to getting back there and it’s going to be a fun day, a fun night and for a great cause. The most important thing is the children’s hospitals. The event is massive. I mean it’s a huge Wednesday-night dirt-fest. I mean, people come out of nowhere and you’re tearing up the track in the afternoon and everyone’s waiting to go. The cars are fast, there’s dust everywhere, and the TV cameras are going and you’ve got Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson all just hanging out with each other, just having a good time. It’s incredible. I mean, it’s just a great night. If you’re a fan of racing and you’re a fan of NASCAR, it’s a must-see event. You’ve got to get to the Prelude sometime to check it out because it is incredible. And if you’re a dirt fan, I don’t think there’s a lot better. I mean, it’s a prelude to ‘The Dream,’ which is a wonderful event and everybody’s there and we’re all in good spirits.”

RICKY CARMICHAEL (The GOAT, as in Greatest Of All Time, thanks to his 20 off-road motorcycle championships):

What are your overall thoughts on the Prelude?

“I’m really excited to be invited to Prelude to the Dream. I’ve watched it several times on TV and it’s just a fun event for a good cause. I can’t wait to get there. I’ve got to be a little optimistic about my results that I may post, but I’m excited to go and thankful for the opportunity. Growing up on dirt – racing motorcycles, not a car – I’ve always felt like I know the dirt a little bit better. So 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, if you will. 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.”

Talk about the history of Eldora and the Prelude.

“There’s a lot of history there, obviously. You know, I’ve heard a lot and seen a lot of racing on TV at Eldora, and I 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 have asked me two years ago, I would have 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.”

You had a ton of success on two wheels and have transitioned to four wheels. Talk about that transition.

“It definitely has 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 and the NASCAR racing – 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.”

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