By admin | June 6, 2012
By Richard Allen
Twenty-four of racingâ€™s biggest stars and most well known names made their annual trek to Tony Stewartâ€™s Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio for the â€˜Prelude to the Dreamâ€™ charity race on the famed half-mile dirt track. This yearâ€™s event, which each year plays out before a sellout crowd and pay-per-view television audience, provided funds for the â€˜Feed the Childrenâ€™ organization.
Frequent dirt racer Austin Dillon set fast time in qualifying with a lap of 16.307 seconds. Aric Almirola, Ken Schrader, Kasey Kahne and David Gilliland rounded out the top-5 in time trials. Several drivers, including Kurt and Kyle Busch, Ray Evernham and Bobby Labonte experienced either wall contact or a spin in their solo laps.
During the intermission between qualifying and heat races, Tony Stewart gave Darrell Walt rip a somewhat comical ride in a crate Late Model two-seater.
In heat race one, Ty Dillon bolted out to the early lead and commanded the race for the first nine of ten laps. However, Danica Patrick smacked the turn one wall with just over a lap remaining.
On the ensuing restart, Ty Dillon chose the inside lane with his brother, Austin, on the outside. Austin bolted to the lead with Ty and Tony Stewart embroiled in a slide job trading race for the runner-up spot. Austin Dillon, Ty Dillon, Stewart and Tony Kanaan was the final order.
Clint Bowyer dominated heat two with Ryan Newman and Aric Almirola following. Jimmie Johnson recovered from an early spin to finish 4th.
Kyle Busch drove a Bloomquist Race Car to a dominating win in heat three over Bobby Labonte, who was driving for a team he actually owns. Ken Schrader and Kenny Wallace were 3rd and 4th.
Kasey Kahne earned the pole for the feature race by winning a wreck filled heat four. Early on, Kurt Busch lost control of his car and bounced off the backstretch wall then collected J.J. Yeley doing significant damage to both cars. A late arriving Dave Blaney also crashed in the preliminary event. Jason Leffler and Donny Schatz followed Kahne to the line.
This yearâ€™s feature race was 40 laps, which is up from 30 laps of previous Prelude to the Dream races.
At the start of the feature, Kahne jumped out to the early lead with Kyle Busch and Austin Dillon close behind. However, the action came to a grinding halt just after the completion of the first lap when Ray Evernham got into Steve Kinser triggering a multi-car incident. The red flag had to be displayed for several minutes to clean up the aftermath.
Kahne then got out to the lead where he would remain until lap 13 when Bowyer sailed past to assume the top spot. Also lurking in the top-5 were Kyle Busch, Johnson and Austin Dillon in the first third of the event.
The intensity level really picked up at lap 22 when Kahne attempted to regain first place by employing a slide job on Bowyer in turns one and two. The move did not go as planned when Kahne slid into Bowyer and knocked the #15 machine into the outside wall. Kyle Busch then seized the opportunity to make his own move forward and attempted a similar move as Kahne the next time around with the same result of Bowyer being driven into the fence.
After two successive laps of being door slammed into the wall, Bowyer called it a night.
Just three laps after taking the lead, Kahne ran upon the spun out and prone car of Bobby Labonte and rammed into the former Sprint Cup champion. Both drivers were uninjured but both cars appeared to have been destroyed.
From that point, Kyle Busch assumed the lead and drove away to the win with Tony Stewart, Austin Dillon, Donny Schatz, Ryan Newman, Aric Almirola, Cruz Pedragon, Dave Blaney, Ty Dillon and Justin Allgaier following. Each of those top-10 drivers will be allowed to send a truck load of food for children to a destination of their choice.
â€œItâ€™s such a cool place to come out here to Eldora,â€ Busch said in victory lane. â€œI canâ€™t say enough about Scott Bloomquist and everybody who worked on this thing. The last couple of years weâ€™ve been close and just inching closer and closer.â€
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