Hey race fans, how's this for an alternative to the boring weekly NASCAR grind? Next Wednesday, June 6, a number of racing's biggest names will play in the dirt at the famed Eldora Speedway in BFE Ohio. And you can watch it from home on Pay-Per-View.
The event is the third annual "Nextel Prelude to the Dream presented by Old Spice." The race will feature 25 funky late models battling (hot laps, qualifying, and heat races) for a spot in the field for the 30-lap feature event.
Former Formula 1 driver Juan Pablo Montoya and NHRA Funny Car studs Ron Capps (who finished an impressive fourth in last year's feature) and Cruz Pedregon will try their luck on the oval against some of NASCAR's brightest stars, some of whom are dirt-racing virgins. NASCAR names include Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Mark Martin, Denny Hamlin, Bobby Labonte, Ryan Newman, Bill Elliott, Carl Edwards, Clint Bowyer, Dave Blaney, Aric Almirola, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, David Reutimann, Elliott Sadler, Ken Schrader, Kenny Wallace, Mike Wallace, J.J. Yeley, team owner Ray Evernham, and septuagenarian Red Farmer.
The legendary Rossburg, Ohio, track, which opened in 1954, is a half-mile clay oval that's seen the tires of Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt, Gordon, Stewart, and Kahne--among hundreds of others.
Stewart won last year's race (photos shown; for results, go to: http://www.eldoraspeedway.com/results/090606.html) after setting the quickest time in qualifying. It would have been very embarrassing for Tony to not set the QT, since he owns the track. (Talk about home-field advantage!) Moreover, the Indiana-native Stewart was fifteen years old when he first raced at Eldora.
Says Tony about his track: "The groove has always typically been right up by the wall, and when you're running that fast at a half-mile track, you have to have a lot of confidence in yourself and in your car that you can run up there without making a mistake. If you make a mistake, you don't have extra room to gather it back up."
No kidding: the worst mistakes lead to flips and twists worthy of Olympic diving competition, with cars, parts, and mud slinging across the track's banking.
There are still some tickets left (www.eldoraspeedway.com), but your best bet to see the action is on HBO Pay-Per-View, boxing-style. The cost to have the event beamed onto your tube is $24.95, and live coverage starts at 7 pm Eastern on June 6, 2007. Proceeds will go to support Kyle Petty's Victory Junction Gang Camp and the Tony Stewart Foundation.
But be warned. You might wanna cover your TV with a few layers of saran wrap; Eldora's dust and dirt has been known to permeate into the tightest of places. I'll bring a lid for your salsa dish.