On Wednesday, June 9, the most celebrated dirt track in all of motorsports will host the Gillette Fusion ProGlide 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:
- 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 sixth annual event will be headlined by the Gillette Young Guns: Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards and Joey Logano. All will join Tony Stewart, the two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion and owner of Eldora Speedway, and many others including fellow Sprint Cup champions Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth. All will pilot 2,300-pound dirt Late Model stock cars capable of putting out over 800 horsepower.
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.
And beyond the new charity element, this year’s Gillette Fusion ProGlide Prelude to the Dream will be 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, J. Gordon, Brian Vickers, A.J. Allmendinger, Kenny Wallace and Ron Capps.
· Team Cincinnati: Kahne (captain), Logano, Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Bill Elliott and Cruz Pedregon.
· Team Levine: Busch (captain), Johnson, Kenseth, David Reutimann, Dave Blaney and Marcos Ambrose.
· Team St. Jude: Hamlin (captain), Edwards, Robby Gordon, Ken Schrader, Aric Almirola, Ricky 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.
“We wanted to shake things up a little bit this year,” said Stewart, who has won the Prelude to the Dream three times since its inception in 2005. “The team concept adds another level of excitement because there’s now a race within the race. 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, we feel we can raise more money than ever before. We’ve always set a goal to raise $1 million. We haven’t been able to reach that goal yet, but with this year’s Prelude where we have a race within a race, I think we have our best shot yet to reach that magic number.”
The four charities – Riley Hospital for Children, Cincinnati Children’s, Levine Children’s Hospital and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital – all cater to the medical needs of children.
The five previous Prelude to the Dreams have collectively raised more than $2.5 million. With each year’s event gaining significant stature and mainstream interest, Stewart’s goal is to have the Gillette Fusion ProGlide Prelude to the Dream raise $1 million, with the proceeds impacting the four charities.
“It’s an ambitious goal, especially in this economy” admits Stewart. “But if we don’t shoot for a number that is a true difference-maker, we’re not ever going to reach it. 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.”
“We are pleased to return this season as the entitlement sponsor of this unique race,” said Michelle Potorski, associate marketing director, Gillette North America. “This year we are launching the new Gillette Fusion ProGlide and we and all the Gillette Young Guns look forward to doing our part to help raise funds and awareness for all the charities involved and making this year’s event a success.”
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.
“This is the fourth year in a row we’ve been able to bring live action from Eldora into living rooms across the country,” said Tammy Ross, vice president and general manager, HBO Pay-Per-View & Sports. “This year’s addition of drivers competing on teams brings a whole new dimension to the broadcast, with the big winners being the hospitals they’re representing and the fans at home.”
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 A.J. Foyt and Mario Andretti competed on nearly 50 years ago.
Other interesting storylines include:
· Fifty Racing Titles Represented at the Prelude: A total of 50 major championships have been won by drivers in the Gillette Fusion ProGlide Prelude to the Dream: Sprint Cup  – Elliott (1988), J. Gordon (1995, 1997, 1998, 2001), Stewart (2002, 2005), Kenseth (2003), Johnson (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009); IROC  – Harvick (2002), Kenseth (2004), Stewart (2006); Nationwide Series  – Harvick (2001, 2006), Vickers (2003), Edwards (2007), Bowyer (2008), Busch (2009); IndyCar Series  – Stewart (1997); NHRA Funny Car  – Pedregon (1992, 2008); SCORE Off-Road  – R. Gordon (1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 2009); AMA 125 National  – Carmichael (1997, 1998, 1999); AMA 125 East Coast SX  – Carmichael (1998); AMA 250 National  – Carmichael (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005); AMA 250 Supercross  – Carmichael (2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006); U.S. Open of Supercross  – Carmichael (200, 2001, 2005); WSXGP 250 Supercross  – Carmichael (2005); MXdN  – Carmichael (2005).
· Dirt Veterans vs. Dirt Neophytes: Stewart, J. Gordon, Kahne, Newman, Blaney, Bowyer, Elliott, Schrader and Wallace grew up on dirt tracks, while Vickers, Busch, Harvick, 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 14-year veteran of the NHRA and Pedregon is a 16-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.
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.
Media members planning to cover the Gillette Fusion ProGlide Prelude to the Dream can apply for credentials online at www.TrueSpeedCommunication.com. All credential requests must be submitted by May 28, 2010. Complete event information can be found in the Gillette Fusion ProGlide Prelude to the Dream online media kit at www.TrueSpeedMedia.com.
Snapshots of each charity supported by this year’s Gillette Fusion ProGlide Prelude to the Dream are as follows:
· Riley Hospital for Children (www.RileyChildrensHospital.com): As one of the nation’s leading pediatric hospitals and Indiana’s first and only comprehensive hospital dedicated exclusively to the care of children, Riley Hospital for Children, a part of Clarian Health, has provided compassionate care, support and comfort to children and their families for 85 years. Each year, more than 250,000 inpatient and outpatient visits are made to Riley Hospital from across Indiana, the nation and the world. Riley Hospital’s partnership with Clarian Health and its strong affiliation with the Indiana University School of Medicine make it the only comprehensive clinical resource for Indiana’s children and the premiere source for health-related information for their parents.
· Cincinnati Children’s (www.CincinnatiChildrens.org): Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, a not-for-profit hospital and research center, is consistently ranked as one of the best pediatric centers in the nation. It is one of only 10 children’s hospitals in the United States to make the Honor Roll in U.S. News and World Report’s 2009-10 America’s Best Children’s Hospitals issue. Cincinnati Children’s is ranked No. 1 for digestive disorders and is also highly ranked for its expertise in respiratory diseases, cancer, neonatal care, heart care, neurology/neurosurgery, diabetes, orthopedics, kidney disorders and urology. One of the three largest children’s hospitals in the U.S., Cincinnati Children’s has more than one million patient encounters each year. Cincinnati Children’s has a long history of research discoveries that have changed the outcome for children. In recognition of the quality and promise of its research, Cincinnati Children’s is one of the top two recipients of pediatric research grants from the National Institutes of Health. President Barack Obama in June 2009 cited Cincinnati Children’s as an “island of excellence” in health care. For its achievements in transforming health care, Cincinnati Children’s is one of six U.S. hospitals since 2002 to be awarded the American Hospital Association-McKesson Quest for Quality Prize for leadership and innovation in quality, safety and commitment to patient care. The hospital is a national and international referral center for complex cases.
· Levine Children’s Hospital (www.LevineChildrensHospital.org): Levine Children’s Hospital is a 234-bed hospital in Charlotte, N.C, located on the main campus of Carolinas Medical Center. Since opening in December 2007, the hospital has grown to include more than 30 pediatric specialties and has already received national distinction by U.S. News & World Report as one of “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals” for treatment of kidney disorders.
Levine Children’s Hospital is also home to the Ricky Hendrick Centers for Intensive Care, which support pediatric intensive and cardiovascular surgery patients. Additional distinctions include organ and bone marrow transplants; pediatric dialysis; interventional cardiology and cardiac surgery; heart-lung bypass capabilities for newborns and pediatric patients; an inpatient pediatric rehabilitation unit; and 24/7 emergency services. Levine Children’s Hospital is the most comprehensive facility of its type between Atlanta and Washington, D.C. – meaning most children no longer need to travel outside of the region to receive the care they need.
Most recently, Levine Children’s Hospital announced the formation of the Carolinas Kids Cancer Research Coalition, a group of eight of the region’s most dedicated nonprofit organizations committed to supporting pediatric cancer research and services at Levine Children’s Hospital.
· St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (www.StJude.org): St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering research and treatment of children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. Ranked the No. 1 pediatric cancer hospital by Parents magazine, St. Jude is the first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children, and has treated children from all 50 states and from around the world. St. Jude has developed research protocols that helped push overall survival rates for childhood cancer from less than 20 percent when the hospital opened to almost 80 percent today. St. Jude is the national coordinating center for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium and the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study. In addition to pediatric cancer research, St. Jude is also a leader in sickle cell disease research and is a globally prominent research center for influenza.
Founded in 1962 by the late entertainer Danny Thomas, St. Jude freely shares its discoveries with scientific and medical communities around the world, publishing more research articles than any other pediatric cancer research center in the United States. St. Jude treats more than 5,400 patients each year and is the only pediatric cancer research center where families never pay for treatment not covered by insurance. St. Jude is financially supported by thousands of individual donors, organizations and corporations without which the hospital’s work would not be possible. In 2010, St. Jude was ranked the most trusted charity in the nation in a public survey conducted by Harris Interactive, a highly respected international polling and research firm.