Prelude to the Dream news 2010-05-30

2010 INDY 500 WINNER DARIO FRANCHITTI HAS STANDING INVITATION TO COMPETE IN GILLETTE FUSION PROGLIDE PRELUDE TO THE DREAM AT ELDORA Two-Time Indianapolis 500 Winner and Former NASCAR Driver Can Trade Dallara for Dirt Late Model on June 9 Live...

2010 INDY 500 WINNER DARIO FRANCHITTI HAS STANDING INVITATION TO COMPETE IN GILLETTE FUSION PROGLIDE PRELUDE TO THE DREAM AT ELDORA

Two-Time Indianapolis 500 Winner and Former NASCAR Driver Can Trade Dallara for Dirt Late Model on June 9 Live on HBO Pay-Per-View®

ROSSBURG, Ohio (May 30, 2010) -- Dario Franchitti, winner of the 2010 Indianapolis 500 and a spot on the prestigious Borg-Warner trophy, can etch his name onto another coveted piece of hardware if he decides to compete in the Gillette Fusion ProGlide Prelude to the Dream June 9 at the legendary Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio.

Franchitti drove his No. 10 Target/Dallara from third in the 33-car Indianapolis 500 field to lead a race-high 155 of the 200 laps en route to victory in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The performance earned Franchitti a berth in the Gillette Fusion ProGlide Prelude to the Dream, an all-star dirt Late Model race featuring more than 25 world renowned drivers as they battle for dirt supremacy on Eldora's half-mile clay oval. It's all 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

"Congratulations to Dario Franchitti on winning the Indy 500," said Tony Stewart, owner of Eldora Speedway and the 1997 IndyCar Series champion. "I'm sure life is pretty busy for Dario right now, but in a good way. I'd like to congratulate him in person at this year's Gillette Fusion ProGlide Prelude to the Dream. We've got a car and crew ready for him if he wants to run. It would be great to have him, and if he wants to get some practice time and instruction beforehand, we'll find a way to make it happen."

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 two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Stewart and many others, including fellow Sprint Cup champions Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, Bobby Labonte and Bill Elliott. All will pilot 2,300-pound dirt Late Model stock cars capable of putting out more than 800 horsepower.

Franchitti won the Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar Series championship in 2007 before trying his hand at NASCAR from late 2007 to mid 2008. The native of Edinburgh, Scotland made 10 starts in the elite Sprint Cup Series, 18 starts in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and one start in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. His best finish was fifth in the 2008 Nationwide Series race at the Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International road course. Franchitti returned to the IndyCar Series in 2009 and won a second series title.

"I'm sure there's a little apprehension for Dario since he's never been on dirt before. But Juan Pablo Montoya had never been on dirt before when he ran the Prelude back in 2007, and he took to it pretty quickly," Stewart added. "There are a lot of guys who have been in his shoes, and plenty of guys who are still learning. We're there to have fun and raise money for a good cause, and I'll personally make sure that Dario has fun at the Prelude."

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, J. 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, 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.

Franchitti has his choice of which team he would like to join.

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 Indianapolis 500 winners 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.

-source: tsc

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