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Stars get dirty for Stewart's charity Dream

Two dozen NASCAR stars descend on Eldora Speedway's dirt track in Ohio tonight for Tony Stewart's Prelude to the Dream charity fundraiser, with IndyCar's Tony Kanaan joining the fun.
Tony Stewart's annual Prelude to the Dream competition takes place on Wednesday evening, with 27 professional racers all trying their hand at late-model stock car racing on the Eldora Speedway dirt track owned by Stewart in Rossburg, Ohio.

The event raises money for children's charities across the US.

While the 2011 line-up is predominantly made up of NASCAR Cup, Nationwide and Truck drivers, it also includes IZOD IndyCar Series star Tony Kanaan and NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series drivers Ron Capps and Cruz Pedregon. Instead of professional NASCAR-style vehicles, all drivers use regular 2300-pound, 800-horsepower late-model stock cars.

"We all enjoy racing and running in Tony's event without the pressure at a normal Cup event," said Jimmie Johnson, who won the event in 2010.

"We're able to really unwind postrace and just hang out. It's just shooting the breeze with drivers that you really don't ever get a chance to," he said, adding that he was yet to leave Eldora before 3am afterwards. "I joked with him that he needs to build like a little makeshift bar in the infield and make the winner of that night's event buy beer for everybody - and pizza!"

While primarily a team event - with the drivers split up representing four different charitable organisations - there is also an individual winner at the end of the night. Winners in previous years the individual winners of the events have been Kenny Wallace (2005), Carl Edwards (2007) and Tony Stewart himself (2006, 2008 and 2009) as well as Johnson last year.

The most consistent performer of late has been Clint Bowyer, who finished fifth in 2007, third in 2008 and second for the last two years - which means he should be about due for first place any day now.

"For the dirt late-model boys, that's their biggest race of the year," Bowyer said. "It's neat to get the best of the Cup world interacting and bench racing with the best of the dirt late-model world. It's just a fun atmosphere after the race."

Bowyer started in dirt tracks and owns and runs his own late model stock car dirt tracking team, as do Bobby Labonte and Cruz Pedregon. Bowyer's team is even providing the car for Johnson to drive as well as Bowyer himself.

Driver line-up

The driver line-up consists of 27 drivers split into four teams representing a different charitable organisation. This year, all the organisations were children's hospitals around America:




Related Pictures

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Tony Stewart answering questions from the media at Levine Children`s Hospital about the seventh annual Prelude to the Dream charity fundraising event at Eldora Speedway [Picture credit: CIA Stock Photography, Inc.]
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and team owner Tony Stewart celebrate winning in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Patriotic Chevrolet SS, who is not in the Chase, qualified for 15th position Friday, November 7, 2014 for Sunday`s final Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. Johnson won the NASCAR race last week at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, who is in the Chase, finished in 2nd place and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Red Vest Chevrolet SS finished in 1st place Sunday, November 2, 2014 in the Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. The Eliminator 8 phase of the Chase continues next week at Phoenix International Speedway in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Red Vest Chevrolet SS, races to his first place win Sunday, November 2, 2014 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. The Eliminator 8 phase of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase, which Johnson is not in, continues next week at Phoenix International Speedway in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Red Vest Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory with a burnout Sunday, November 2, 2014 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. The Eliminator 8 phase of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase, which Johnson is not in, continues next week at Phoenix International Speedway in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Red Vest Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory Sunday, November 2, 2014 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. The Eliminator 8 phase of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase, which Johnson is not in, continues next week at Phoenix International Speedway in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Red Vest Chevrolet, celebrates with Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage and AAA VIP Employee Recognition Winner David Tiger with pistols in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 2, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Red Vest Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 2, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Red Vest Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 2, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Red Vest Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 2, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Red Vest Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 2, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Red Vest Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 2, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Red Vest Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 2, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Red Vest Chevrolet SS qualified for third position Friday, October 31, 2014 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. Johnson is shown with his crew chief, Chad Knaus. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1 Chevrolet, drives during Pinnacle Propane Qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on October 31, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, sits in his car in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Goody`s Headache Relief Shot 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 25, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Danica Patrick alongside the #10 GoDaddy Breast Cancer Awareness Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing on pit road at Talladega Superspeedway. (Photo Credit: NASCAR via Getty Images)

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