In one week, many stars that fans get to see race on Sunday will trade their stock cars for late models. They'll take off the Goodyear Racing Eagles and put on Hoosier grooved tires.
More than anything else, they are trading the asphalt for dirt.
Next Wednesday is the sixth annual "Prelude to the Dream" at the Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. And this year, the drivers invited will be racing for the kids.
For the 2010 edition of the charity event, the 26 drivers scheduled to compete will be broken into four teams. Each team will be racing for a different children's hospital. Based on the finishing order of each driver in their team, the team with the lowest total will get the biggest donation.
Only the top five drivers from each team will be scored. In the event of a tie, the sixth driver in the team will be scored.
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, says this year's event will be the most competitive and exciting yet.
"We wanted to shake things up a little bit this year," said Stewart. "The team concept adds another level of excitement because there's now a race within the race. As individual drivers, we all want the big trophy at the end of the night.
"But it's cool knowing that battles for fourth and fifth and even 11th and 12th will make a big difference for what children's hospital ends up with the big check."
The driver line-up for 2010 is stacked with all-stars in multiple areas of racing. Here's how the teams will break down for each children's hospital.
TEAM CINCINNATI CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL
Kasey Kahne-Team Captain
TEAM LEVINE HOSPITAL FOR CHILDREN
Kyle Busch-Team Captain
TEAM RILEY HOSPITAL FOR CHILDREN
Clint Bowyer-Team Captain
TEAM ST. JUDE CHILDREN'S RESEARCH HOSPITAL
Denny Hamlin-Team Captain
There is also an open invitation to Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti to compete at this year's Prelude event. As of yet, there has been no word as to if he will accept the invitation.
Two rookies will be making their debut at Eldora, each with experience on dirt, but not in a late model. Both Travis Pastrana and Ricky Carmichael cut their teeth in motocross, while Pastrana has also been a strong contender in rally car racing with Team Red Bull. Carmichael has multiple motocross titles, and also is responsible for bringing motocross racing to the X-Games.
One driver who will not compete in this year's event after being scheduled to is Brian Vickers. Because of doctor's orders and the blood thinners that he has been prescribed, he is out of racing for the remainder of the year.
Stewart says the goal of this race each year is to raise $1 million. He has yet to reach that mark, but feels that this year's format may help him eclipse that mark.
"We plan to raise a lot of money for all of these hospitals, no matter where their teams finish. 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," Stewart said.
"With this format, we feel we can raise more money than ever before. We've always set a goal to raise $1 million. We haven't been able to reach that goal yet, but with this year's Prelude where we have a race within a race, I think we have our best shot yet to reach that magic number."
This year's Prelude to the Dream will once again be broadcast on HBO Pay-Per-View. Coverage is set to begin at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT on Wednesday, June 9.
UPDATE: Dario Franchitti declined the invitation to compete at the Prelude to the Dream because of prior commitments. However, Indy Car driver Tony Kannan confirmed that he will be in attendance. Which team he will race for is yet to be determined.
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