Sometimes, it’s easier to be a cynic — to look at things glass half full and what not. Wednesday, I drove two hours through the cornfields of Indiana and Ohio to step out of my temperate 72 degree, air-conditioned car and out into 100 degree, humid heat. There were noises, lots of loud noises and oh, by the way, did I mention the dirt and dust? Yes, it was everywhere.
OH and did I mention…. no, no, I honestly can’t go any further. This week, members of both the INDYCAR and IMS staff headed to Eldora Speedway in New Weston, Ohio and the 7th annual Prelude to the Dream (Read more here) to support Tony Kanaan as he represented the IZOD IndyCar Series in the event. And admittedly, like any good race fan, I can only look back on the evening, humidity and dirt included, with rose-colored glasses.
The event, which supports Children’s Hospitals across the nation puts drivers from a variety of racing series behind the wheel of Late Model stock cars running around the half-mile oval at Eldora. Tony’s team, which included Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Brian Vickers, Marcos Ambrose, Dave Blaney and Aric Almirola, represented Children’s Medical Center Dallas.
Okay, now I get to be “glass half full” because wow, how cool to watch some of the best drivers out there today all side-by-side in support of a great cause. Or seriously, how great to catch them patting each other on the back or joking together in the paddock. It reminded me of a friend who once said “racing is racing, no matter who sanctions it.” It’s hard to agree until you head to an event where the racing community is united like they were at Prelude to the Dream.
I watched as the familar paint scheme of Tony’s Indy car slide around a dirt track on a stock car and laughed when I caught the “fine print” telling fans that they could see TK run at speeds over 220 mph on Versus this Saturday.
I enjoyed walking through “pit lane” (or dirt lane, if you will…) and catching some of NASCAR’s stars, like Denny Hamlin driving in support of his Denny Hamlin Foundation, and realizing that I would see the same drivers in just a few short weeks at the Brickyard 400. And I found humor as Tony realized one of the differences between an Indy-style car and a stock car (see below!)
But mostly, I simply kicked back and enjoyed as some of the best drivers competed for a wonderful cause. Just like at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, fans had the chance to watch more than just one racing series represented. Check out a few more photos here and share below. Did you make it out to Eldora this week? Do you think any of the drivers that competed will take a stab at the INDYCAR World Championships $5 Million Challenge this October?