TONY STEWART WINS OLD SPICE PRELUDE TO THE DREAM AT ELDORA SPEEDWAY ROSSBURG, Ohio (June 4, 2008) -- Tony Stewart dominated the Old Spice Prelude to the Dream dirt late model race Wednesday night at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio by leading...
TONY STEWART WINS OLD SPICE PRELUDE TO THE DREAM AT ELDORA SPEEDWAY
ROSSBURG, Ohio (June 4, 2008) -- Tony Stewart dominated the Old Spice Prelude to the Dream dirt late model race Wednesday night at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio by leading all 30 laps en route to his second victory in the prestigious charity event.
Stewart, who owns Eldora, passed pole-sitter Kevin Harvick on the first lap and never looked back as he defeated Prelude rookie Robby Gordon by 1.502 seconds. Dirt track veteran Clint Bowyer was third.
"After crashing out last year, I was bound and determined that I was going to run better," said Stewart, who finished 22nd in last year's Old Spice Prelude to the Dream but won the event in 2006. "I mean, this team is always good. Mark Richards and Josh Richards and everybody at Rocket Chassis -- these cars are better than ever now. Tonight was fun. When you can run around the rim like this, that's what Eldora was built around -- 'rim riders.'"
Gordon, who has considerable off-road experience, was impressive in his Prelude debut.
"It was a good time," Gordon said. "I want to thank Scott (Bloomquist, car owner) and the whole crew for doing a great job with the car. For me, I just had to drive it. I want to thank Tony for putting on another good event and inviting me to come play, and I look forward to coming back next year."
There were seven caution periods during the event, although the laps conducted under caution did not count.
The race, which drew more than 23,000 fans, was broadcast live on HBO Pay-Per-View with proceeds from the nationwide telecast going to support the soon-to-be constructed Victory Junction Gang Camp -- Kansas City and the Tony Stewart Foundation.
All Old Spice Prelude to the Dream race information, from starting lineups to qualifying and finishing results, can be found at www.TrueSpeedMedia.com by simply clicking on the event logo.
TONY STEWART, Winner:
You won your own race for the second time.
"I can't thank the guys up in the stands enough. They make the Prelude what it is. After crashing out last year, I was bound and determined I was going to run better. I mean, this team is always good. Mark Richards and Josh Richards and everybody at Rocket Chassis, these cars are better than ever now. Tonight was fun. When you can run around the rim like this, that's what Eldora was built around -- 'rim riders.' You know it was a little bit chunky tonight and a little bit rough out there. We tore up a lot of race cars, but everybody worked hard. The staff here at Eldora Speedway and Artie Kempner (FOX Sports) and Pam Miller (FOX Sports) and all the Fox staff that came to help out. And Old Spice, they really made this all possible. And Sprint NEXTEL, they've been great.
"I'm looking forward to a big weekend. Obviously we got Pocono from here, but we got a really big $100,000-to-win dirt late-model race called The Dream. So, I'll be back Saturday night to see who gets that big check.
Talk about the level of competition at the Prelude.
"Shoot, I think Kyle Busch and I are the only two guys that didn't test for this race. Everybody built cars and practiced. It was neat to see Jimmie Johnson and Robby Gordon come. It was their first time to Eldora tonight. Just everybody that's come back -- guys like Matt Kenseth who has been here from day one and hasn't missed a Prelude. Ron Capps and Cruz Pedregon, all these guys, Mark Martin, I just can't thank all these drivers who took time out of their schedule. I just can't thank them enough for what they've done. You know, to get 25 guys all on the same night to be able to get an opening in their schedule -- that's something that means a lot to me. For all the fans to take off work to come here, along with the drivers, it just makes for an awesome victory.
"We don't know what the results of the pay-per-view are and everything that's coming in, but I'm going to guarantee Kyle Petty and the Victory Junction Gang $1 million from tonight's event. The Victory Junction Gang camps have become such a part of my family too. That's what tonight is all about. We all get to have fun out here tonight and get to drive dirt cars and have fun here, but it's a lot deeper and bigger cause than that."
ROBBY GORDON, Second-Place:
You got a second place your first time here, and you beat a lot of guys who have a whole lot more experience at this than you do. How was it out there?
"It was a good time. I want to thank Scott (Bloomquist, car owner) and the whole crew for doing a great job with the car. For me, I just had to drive it. What was cool was I had Scott down there giving me signals and he said, 'Down there, go high, and down here, come inside.' I saw what he was telling me to do so that was nice to be able to do that. Normally we have spotter radios and stuff like that which we don't have for this. I enjoyed it. I want to thank the fans for coming out tonight. I want to thank Tony for putting on another good event and inviting me to come play, and I look forward to coming back next year. This car here, I underdrove it for the first five laps because I knew it was 30 laps and I knew there were going to be a lot of cautions, and I wanted to be there at the end to have a shot at it. We probably needed one more restart there and we might have had a shot at it. One thing I can tell you, we did one test before this race. I love racing Tony Stewart and I appreciate what he does, but be ready next year because we're going to come back guns blazing."
CLINT BOWYER, Third-Place:
It looked at one point like you were the only one who could catch Tony. What happened down the stretch?
"I think we missed it a little bit on tires or something. It would take off pretty good and it would just fade away too quick. This is fun. It's just fun racing and good racing and these cars are blast to drive. It's something different that we don't get to do very often. That was more nerve-wracking than anything with having a two-time champion in your car. You don't want to mess things up and Jimmie (Johnson) did great. I was happy to come out and put a car under Jimmie, so that means a lot."
KENNY WALLACE, Fourth-Place:
What a great race coming from mid-pack into contention for the win. Did you enjoy yourself out there?
"We come here to have a lot of fun, so to put on that show (when running) for second spot meant a lot to me. Tony decided to line us up 10th, fifth row and that was okay. I really had a good time and I want to thank Eddie Petroff and Brian Shirley, who are here with their car for the Dream, and letting me drive it. Nobody had anything for Tony. He's the only two-time winner and now I've got a first, a fifth, a 13th and a fourth tonight. So we'll come back next year and try to join him."
The track was in great shape it looked like you could run all over.
"I could run anywhere I wanted to. It's a great race track. I started 10th and worked my way up to third running the bottom, so it was hard for me to get off it when I was gaining so much down there."
DENNY HAMLIN, Fifth-Place:
You raced from ninth to fifth. That's a pretty solid race for someone with limited dirt experience.
"Yeah, it was fun. We definitely had some really good equipment. Dale (McDowell) gave me this car and it just took a little time to figure it out. We're gaining on it, for sure. Every time we come back here, we run a little better. Next year, maybe we'll have something for these guys."
To run Eldora, you have to run up on the wall and it looked like you were having some great battles out there.
"It was really great. We could get the cushion going especially on restarts. After that, it was really hard and so bumpy in three and four you really couldn't run the cushion as much as you could in one and two. It was a good night for us and we couldn't be prouder to be driving this car tonight."
You have the opportunity to compete in a lot of events, but this one is certainly unique. Do you agree?
"What a great experience to be a part of this. It's for a good charity. Tony does a great job organizing this whole deal for us, making it painless for us and still have a lot of fun. That's why he gets the drivers he gets each and every year."
KEVIN HARVICK, Seventh-Place:
You got to start up front and stayed pretty close to the front all night. Once you got passed for the lead on the first lap, you seemed to settle in pretty well. Was it as fun as it looked?
"I got them to loosen the car up a bit too much and by the time the main rolled around I was just too free getting in the center. That's just something I've just got to learn to do, to tell them the right stuff to do. Man, I had a great time and we were competitive. To (car owner) Mike Dillon and all these guys who built this car, I just can't thank them enough because my goal is to be competitive and that's what we did tonight. The start was good, I thought. The restarts were bad. I finally figured out that you've got to come to the bottom."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, Eighth-Place:
What did you learn from your first outing at the Old Spice Prelude to the Dream?
"That was a lot of fun. There are some things that I recognize I need to come back and do a better job of next time. Qualifying is so important. We had a fast car and I passed a lot of guys since I started 16th and ended up the in the top-10 there. Just trying to pass people on all the restarts that I had, I would make up. I get one and lose two, then gain two spots and lose one. I'm a lot smarter now and I had a blast. I certainly will be back next year. You're really fighting these cars. Once you get into the corner and the car loads up it starts catching those ruts. When it starts throwing the car the only way you get it back is by manhandling it back. It's nice to get in something and throw it around. In stock cars we have to be careful not to blow the tires off when you are on radial tires on asphalt. You can just get in there and drive the crap out of it. It's a lot of fun."
KYLE BUSCH, 10th-Place:
It was a start to a really busy week but it probably didn't start out like you envisioned?
"We worked our way up a little bit in the feature. We made a mistake there in the heat race. I don't even know what I did wrong, yet. I'll have to wait until I see it. I wrecked the thing, had to start in the back and I could never make up any ground. I made a couple of spots on restarts. I just kind of struggled this year. This is just a start since I have a lot to do this week. We've got a lot of laps and miles on the plane but I'm looking forward to it."
JEFF GORDON, 14th-Place:
This is your second Old Spice Prelude to the Dream event at Eldora Speedway. Did you have as much fun as you did last year in your first race back on the dirt?
"It was awesome. I had such a blast racing in this event again tonight and I am so proud of Tony for raising all of that money for the Victory Junction Gang Camp. We didn't have quite as good of a night as we did last year so we'll have to give it another try tomorrow. I got in the wall in the heat and that put us behind all night long. In the race we started a little too far back to move up like we needed to."
Would you like to participate in the 2009 Prelude to the Dream event?
"I certainly hope to come back again next year. Every year it just depends on the schedule and what's going on. We try to put it on the schedule far in advance. We'll see if things work out to where we can do this again next year."
CARL EDWARDS, 18th-Place (defending race champion):
You were running up front for a long while. What finally put you out?
"Well we must have had something in the radiator there. It was getting really hot, but I was going to the front, so I thought, I'll buy them an engine for a win here. But once Robby got into me going into the corner and knocked the wheel out of my end. I couldn't figure out which way was straight for a while. I tried my hardest, but I just wasn't going to blow up an engine for 10th place or wherever we would've finished. I was having a blast when I finally figured out that one top, we were going somewhere. It was fun."
DAVE BLANEY, 20th-Place:
You ran up front a good bit in the early part of the race. What knocked you out?
"We had some kind of engine trouble. I guess it was just an oil leak, but I didn't want to take a chance on hurting their stuff. I really think we had a good chance to win that. We had a harder tire on the right rear that would just keep coming. That was a shame but it was a lot of fun and I want to thank these guys for bringing a great car here."
KASEY KAHNE, 22nd-Place:
You struggled with mechanical problems all night. Certainly not the return to Eldora Speedway that you hoped for?
"I just wanted to race. I enjoy racing anything and everything. This is a cool event because we get to race at Eldora and because it's for the Victory Junction. It's disappointing that I didn't get to race, enjoy it and try to put on a good show."
Your problems started early in the night and continued in the heat race and ultimately a hole in the radiator ended your night on lap nine of the feature.
"We really never got the car running all night. In the feature, it wouldn't run wide open. I was trying to run the bottom, so that I get on the throttle and then get off it. We didn't get many laps in. The radiator had a hole in it by the first caution (on lap four) and I just had to keep pulling tear-offs and used up all 14 in about five laps. That was all I could do."