First six Prelude drivers announced Fresh off the green flag to the 2012 North American motorsports calendar, Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway is excited to announce the first round of drivers confirmed for the 8th Annual Feed The Children Prelude to the Dream. Defending champion Clint Bowyer leads superstars Kasey Kahne, Kurt Busch, Dave Blaney, Tony Kanaan and Ron Capps as the first six entrants into the charity-driven event.
The process of unveiling some of the world’s greatest known drivers from NASCAR, IndyCar and NHRA to the Wednesday, June 6 contest will span four weeks as drivers begin to prepare for their once-a-year encounter with the famed high-banked half-mile clay oval.
Defending Feed the Children Prelude to the Dream champion Clint Bowyer’s exciting run in last year’s Prelude cemented him as the most consistent driver in the seven-year history of the race. His initial Prelude appearance in 2007 resulted in a fifth place finish. He backed that up with a third place run the following year (2008), before registering a pair of runner-up finishes in 2009 and 2010, and then stepped up the pace even more with last year’s victory. Bowyer is coming off an 11th place finish in this year’s Daytona 500.
Returning after a five-year absence, Busch will bring to the Darke (OH) County speed plant a hype that only Kurt Busch can create. Known for his prowess in many levels of NASCAR racing, his racing career remains rooted in grassroots racing, including on the dirt surface of the original Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Legends Cars where he began his career. His only previous Prelude appearance in 2006 netted him the 15th position in the main event.
Blaney and Kahne are no strangers to Eldora Speedway. Each of them return with impressive Eldora credentials and countless laps of competition in multiple forms of the sport, most notably the open wheel variety – both winged and non-winged. The move to the heavier Dirt Late Models has required little adapting for the pair. Both have competed in five previous Prelude events, with the versatile Blaney, a former World of Outlaws Champion and veteran of Super DIRT Week at Syracuse, having earned the highest finish of runner-up in 2006.
Of this elite group of six drivers, Capps is the senior member, with appearances in each of the previous seven Preludes. Ironically Capps is not an oval track racer. His vocation is focused on the straight-lined drag strips; with 33 career wins under his belt. He is no stranger to speed, as testified by his career-best run of 4.023 seconds in a quarter-mile run, with a top speed of 315.27 MPH. He attacks the clay oval with that same vengeance, including a Prelude best finish of 4th in 2006.
Kanaan enters the Prelude field as a representative of the IndyCar and international world. The Brazilian captured the 2004 IndyCar title and has set on the pole of the renown Indianapolis 500, but the transition to dirt grassroots racing has presented Kanaan with a new learning curve. With the last two years of Prelude racing on his resume (his only short track appearances), Kanaan has finished 24th and 27th. He looks at 2012 in anticipation of improving upon those marks.
Tickets and campsites for the Feed The Children Prelude to the Dream and all other 2012 Eldora Speedway Major Events including the $100,000-to-win Dirt Late Model Dream presented by Ferris Commercial Mowers, $50,000-to-win World of Outlaws Kings Royal and 42th Annual World 100 are available through the speedway box office (937) 338-3815 or online 24 hours a day at www.EldoraSpeedway.com. Like us at www.Facebook.com/EldoraSpeedway.