Cruz Pedregon prepping for Prelude to the Dream INDIANAPOLIS (June 2) -- Funny Car world champion Cruz Pedregon has a trophy case full of drag racing Wallys, but the veteran straight-line racer admits he'd love to add some hardware from circle...
Cruz Pedregon prepping for Prelude to the Dream
INDIANAPOLIS (June 2) -- Funny Car world champion Cruz Pedregon has a trophy case full of drag racing Wallys, but the veteran straight-line racer admits he'd love to add some hardware from circle track races to his collection. Pedregon will get another chance to fulfill that wish this Wednesday at the fourth annual Old Spice Prelude to the Dream at Eldora Speedway in Ohio.
As one of two drag racers in the mix, Pedregon will challenge some of the best NASCAR drivers in the charity event at the famed, half-mile dirt oval, where legends like A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti, Pancho Carter, and Johnny Rutherford cut their teeth.
"I'm excited," Pedregon said. "I have a real passion for dirt-track racing and I'm honored that (track owner and NASCAR star) Tony Stewart has invited me to participate in the Prelude again this year. There's going to be some great racing, but we shouldn't lose sight of the fact we're raising money for some disadvantaged kids. That's the No. 1 thing for all of us to remember."
The 25,000 fans in attendance as well as the millions of viewers tuning in through HBO's pay-per-view option will take comfort in the fact that all of the proceeds from this race are earmarked for the Victory Junction Gang Camp II in Kansas City and the Tony Stewart Foundation. Stewart hopes to raise more than $1 million this year.
Pedregon's participation isn't just an honorary spot; the 27-time NHRA winner is a bonafide dirt-track racer that owns a Midget Racing team and regularly competes in big-time events like the legendary Chili Bowl in his #71 Advance Auto Parts hot rod.
In preparation for the Prelude, Pedregon spent a few days at Selinsgrove Speedway in central Pennsylvania, driving Jim Bernheizel's 800-horsepower Lazer Chassis Late Model Stock Car, the same type of car he'll pilot in Eldora.
"Dirt is the great equalizer," said Pedregon, who will be joined by NHRA pro Ron Capps in Ohio. "There are some big name guys racing in this thing but some of them have never raced on dirt or it's been a long time since they have. It's a lot different than pavement. You're sliding around that track sideways and car control is at a premium.
"I expect to qualify in the top half and hold my own on race day. I'm not going to race crazy, but I think Ron and I can more than hold our own and make the drag racing fans proud. Ron's a great racer. He'll do a good job. If we get some breaks, who knows."
Drivers scheduled to compete at this year's Prelude to the Dream include Stewart, Wallace, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Bobby Labonte, Mark Martin, Ryan Newman, Carl Edwards, Bill Elliott, Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Robby Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Dave Blaney, Clint Bowyer, David Reutimann, Kenny Schrader, J.J. Yeley, Red Farmer, Aric Almirola, and Ray Evernham.