NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers may be in the middle of a two day test to try out the new pavement at Pocono Raceway in preparation for Sunday’s Pocono 400, but that didn’t keep several of them from traveling to Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway dirt track in Rossburg, Ohio, on Wednesday at the conclusion of the first day of the Pocono test to participate in the eighth-annual Prelude to the Dream 40-lap charity race to benefit Feed the Children.
“There’s a lot of stuff going on,” Stewart said. “Five days in a row at Pocono, and for these guys to leave practice at the end of the day today, fly here and race, and then fly back to Pocono tonight and be back in cars at Pocono at nine in the morning, I think that speaks volumes to what this event is all about and what it means for these guys to be here. I know as a promoter and a fellow driver in the Cup Series, I’m honored they were that committed to doing this with us tonight to benefit such a good cause as Feed The Children.”
Kyle Busch won the race in his sixth try, taking the lead just past the halfway point when previous race leader, Kasey Kahne, wrecked with Bobby Labonte on lap 25.
“This is cool,” Busch said. “This is what it’s all about when you go dirt racing. It’s a lot of fun. I can’t say enough about (car owner) Scott Bloomquist and all these guys. They give me great racecars every time we come here and I’ve torn them up a few times, including tonight. We were able to come back through, get a good heat race, get a good starting spot for the main event and run up front there with the leaders all night. And then, when Kahne had his mishap, we inherited the lead and just were able to set sail from there. We were pretty fast. At the beginning, I was just trying to pick the start as best I could. Kahne obviously had the preferred line at the bottom there to slide in and get in front of me. I kept trying the get my momentum around the top but I just couldn’t get to him from there. But I did feel once we did get the lead that we were pretty fast and we could hold it.”
The race was dominated by Sprint Cup Series drivers, with Kahne leading the way from the green flag until losing the top spot to Clint Bowyer on lap 13. Kahne reassumed the lead on lap 21 and led until the lap 25 accident with Labonte. Busch then took over and led the rest of the way.
Stewart finished second, and Nationwide Series driver Austin Dillon was third. World of Outlaws star Donny Schatz was fourth, and Ryan Newman rounded out the top-five. Arica Almirola was sixth, drag racer Cruz Pedregon seventh, Dave Blaney eighth, Camping World Truck Series driver Ty Dillon ninth, and Nationwide Series driver Justin Allgaier rounded out the top-10.
Trucks filled by Feed the Children will be dispactched to the hometowns or cities of choice of the top-10 finishers of the event. Also, proceeds raised from the pay-per-view television coverage on HBO will be donated to Feed the Children.
Photo courtesy of Eldora Speedway
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