Dream Come True For Stewart

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Tony Stewart has accomplished many things in his racing career he's proud of including the purchase of Eldora Speedway and helping to grow Wednesday night's "Prelude to the Dream' charity race one of the biggest events of the season.

Stewart bought the famed dirt track nestled in Rossburg, Ohio in 2004 and has since improved the facility and taken great pride in nurturing both the Prelude event as well as the speedway's schedule and growth.

It's a place that has always been near and dear to the former dirt track racing star's heart.

“I think what’s fun, or challenging, about dirt is that the surface is never the same," said Stewart. "When we go to Charlotte or Daytona or Talladega, the conditions are pretty much the same every time, as far as the surface goes. Dirt tracks are always different from the last time you were there. So, for the guys who are preparing the cars and doing the setups on them, they kind of have to guess ahead and try to plan for what they think the track is going to do."

"The drivers have to plan accordingly, too, and they have to make adjustments while they’re out on the track because the conditions are constantly changing. That’s what’s so fun about dirt – it’s never the same twice.”

In addition to a full slate of events, Eldora has held this mid-week Prelude special for the last four years. Stewart was instrumental in the development of its growth since taking over the track and can't wait for the Wednesday night in June to roll around every year.

“It’s unreal. I guess it would be like Tiger Woods taking all of his buddies and going to play the local putt-putt course, or Michael Jordan taking all of his friends to the playground and shooting hoops," Stewart laughed. "These guys all converge on this track and it’s fun, and it gets us back to our roots – why we got into racing to begin with. There are no points, no prize money. Guys pay their own way to get there and it’s for a worthwhile cause – the injured and fallen soldiers and their families.”

The event, which will give the winner bragging rights for a year, will take place at 7 p.m. EDT tonight and will be broadcast live on HBO Pay-Per-View®.

“The Prelude to the Dream is a race that we hold prior to ‘Dream Weekend,’ which is one of our biggest weekends at Eldora Speedway," Stewart explained. "Professional dirt Late Model racers from across the country are racing for $100,000 to win. The Prelude to the Dream is on the Wednesday before, and it’s a race that myself and 25 drivers from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and the NHRA compete in for bragging rights, but also to raise money for charity."

"It’s a fun atmosphere for the drivers, crews, fans and the people watching at home on HBO Pay-Per-View. Most of these guys don’t race on dirt very often, so it’s a chance for a lot of us to go back to our roots and have a great time. The viewers at home get to see us much differently than they would on a normal race weekend. There are no points, no pressure, just a lot of fun. This year, we’re helping out injured and fallen soldiers by raising money from the Prelude to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project, Intrepid Heroes Fund, Operation Homefront and Fisher House. The men and women in our armed forces fight for our freedom to make sure we can continue to have fun at events like the Prelude, and everyone who tunes in and buys the event on HBO Pay-Per-View will be helping our troops all over the world."

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NASCAR Sprint Cup, 2009

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