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National notebook

Roster set for Eldora's Prelude to the Dream

May 12, 2011, 9:07 am
From track, series, correspondent and special reports
Jimmie Johnson celebrates last year's Prelude victory. (thesportswire.net)
Jimmie Johnson celebrates last year's Prelude victory. (thesportswire.net)

The roster for the seventh annual Prelude to the Dream is set as NASCAR drivers and other racing stars will climb into Dirt Late Models June 8 at Ohio's Eldora Speedway for the all-star race that benefits four children's hospitals.

Last year's winner Jimmie Johnson, track owner Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards and Ryan Newman are among drivers competing in an event available on HBO Pay-Per-View to more than 71 million households throughout the country. The roster of more than 25 stars gathering at the half-mile oval in Rossburg, Ohio, represents the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.

Drivers will again be split among four teams, each representing one of the benefitting hospitals: Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, N.C.; Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta; St. Louis Children’s Hospital; and Children’s Medical Center Dallas.

“We plan to raise a lot of money for all of these hospitals, no matter where their teams finish," Stewart said in a press release. "Since HBO Pay-Per-View began televising the Prelude in 2007, we’ve been able to help a lot of deserving charities, and helping children has always been a part of that mission. With this format, and with the hospitals involved, we feel we have our best chance yet to make this year’s Prelude our most successful one to date.”

The team breakdown for the event, which has raised more than $3 million over six years:

Team Levine: Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Bill Elliott, David Reutimann, Austin Dillon, Ray Evernham and Cruz Pedregon.

Team Atlanta: Ryan Newman, Carl Edwards, Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano, Ken Schrader, David Gilliland and Ron Capps.

Team St. Louis: Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Bobby Labonte, Justin Allgaier, Kenny Wallace, Ron Hornaday and Ricky Carmichael.

Team Dallas: Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Brian Vickers, Marcos Ambrose, Aric Almirola and Dave Blaney.

Fans who want to see the Prelude to the Dream in person can purchase tickets at www.eldoraspeedway.com or by calling the track at (937) 338-3815.

Fans wanting to watch on television should visit www.preludetothedream.org or www.hbo.com to order the $24.95 event. The live, commercial-free broadcast is scheduled for 8 p.m. Eastern followed by an immediate replay. — True Speed Communication

GROUP PLANS TO REOPEN SOUTHERN OHIO SPEEDWAY: Southern Ohio Speedway, dormant since 2003, is expected to announce its 2011 schedule this week under new owners Don Harmon, Robbie Harmon and T.J. Layne of H&L Motorsports. The overgrown 4/10-mile oval in Wheelersburg is tentatively scheduled to open for practice June 4. Besides reviving the track surface, extensive renovations include replacing the grandstands, replacing the press box roof, general excavation work and painting of the facility. Plans are also in the works to construct a guardrail in turns three and four so the pit area can be moved out of the infield. Promoters plan $1,500-to-win weekly Super Late Model events on Friday along with special events at the track which previously hosted the Southern 100, a race with a winner's list that includes Hall of Fame drivers Charlie Swartz, Larry Moore, Delmas Conley and Jack Boggs. For more information, visit southernohiospeedway.com. — From track reports

CRATE LATE MODEL ORGANIZATION SUSPENDS MISSISSIPPIAN: The NeSmith Chevrolet-sponsored tour and weekly series has suspended driver Cliff Williams of Star, Miss., for 365 days and fined him $1,000 for using an illegal camshaft in a GM Performance 604 Crate engine, the organization announced Wednesday night. The infraction was discovered after a May 7 victory at Jackson (Miss.) Motor Speedway. The Crate Late Model organization also suspended car owner Walter Ware indefinitely from sanctioned events and removed Jody P Racing Engines from its list of authorized engine rebuilders. — Roby Helm

CLAYHILL DELAYS OPENING OF SEASON: Clayhill Motorsports Park in Atwood, Tenn., has pushed back the start of the racing season until May 28 because of recent storm damage at and around the racetrack along with an ongoing construction project. With damage at the track and power lines still down several miles around, "there's just no way we can be ready" for the event, track co-promoter Lisa Weatherford said last week. The track is also completing an off-season project of a new scoring tower and concession area (the Clayhill Cafe) between the sections of track suites. The track's originally scheduled May 14 Southern All Star Dirt Racing Series event was postponed with no makeup date yet announced. — From track and series reports

UFO TO CLASH WITH THREE STATE FLYERS AT HESSTON: Because the closure of Central Pennsylvania Speedway cost the UFO Race Championship Series a July 3 event, UFO will now join the Three State Flyers circuit at Hesston (Pa.) Speedway. The co-sanctioned July 3 event also gets a purse bump to $5,000-to-win, up from $3,000-to-win. The Thunder by the Lake event will be the first time the tours have gone head-to-head. Hesston also plans to run its Limited Late Models in a $1,000-to-win event. — From series reports

MORE SERIES SCHEDULE CHANGES: The Ultimate Super Late Model Series event rained out May 7 at Wythe Raceway in Rural Retreat, Va., has been rescheduled for July 30 (it was originally rescheduled for May 14). ... The Dart Corn Belt Clash has added a May 24 event at Independence (Iowa) Motor Speedway. ... The Show-Me Racin' Series has added three dates at Oklahoma tracks: July 2 at Tri-State Speedway in Pocola; July 16 at Mid-America Speedway in South Coffeyville; and Sept. 9 at Thunderbird Speedway in Muskogee. ... The makeup for the April 23 MARS-Comp Cams rainout at West Plains (Mo.) Motor Speedway has been set for Aug. 13. ... PRO Dirt Car Series dates at North Alabama and Moulton (Ala.) Speedways have been removed from the tour schedule. ... SRRS dates at Tennessee National Raceway have been removed from the series schedule. ... The June 17 O'Reilly SUPR event at I-30 Speedway near Little Rock, Ark., has been removed from the series schedule.

ODDS AND ENDS: Jones Motor Speedway in Chatham, La., has swapped straightaways, moving the flagstand and start-finish line to the former backstretch. The quarter-mile oval has seven more regular-season Late Model events scheduled plus O'Reilly SUPR events June 11 and Aug. 20, and the $5,000-to-win unsanctioned Deuces Wild on Oct. 6-8. ... Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, Minn., now provides real-time race lineups on mobile devices. Go to deercreekspeedway.com and click on the track logo to reach the lineup page. ... North Alabama and Moulton (Ala.) Speedway have combined for a pair of $2,000-to-win events on May 20-21; the races are unsanctioned. ... Leesville 171 Speedway, a quarter-mile mile oval in southwestern Louisiana, reopened in April after laying dormant for seven years and plans to host an unsanctioned $1,000-to-win Late Model event May 14.

Correction: Fixes number of households HBO Pay-Per-View reaches.

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