Thursday, April 26, 2007

Ryan Newman to race in Tony Stewarts Nextel Prelude to the Dream

Nextel Prelude to the Dream Entry List Announced: Stewart, Gordon, & Montoya Highlight List

ROSSBURG, Ohio – Eldora Speedway’s much heralded Nextel Prelude to the Dream has gained even more momentum with this week’s announcement of the participating talent, which will feature a lineup of no less than five former NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champions.

Eldora’s owner, Tony Stewart, has announced that this year’s edition will take place on Wednesday, June 6. It will again be sandwiched between the June 2 World of Outlaws Built by The Home Depot event and the $100,000 to win Dirt Late Model Dream June 8-9.

Following the successful and highly popular format used each of the past two years, Stewart will welcome many of his Nextel Cup brethren and other racing notables for an evening of dirt track competition on the nationally recognized half mile clay oval. The talent will again be placed behind the wheel of fast and powerful Late Model race cars.

Headlining that list and making his first return to the dirt surfaced Eldora oval since 1991 is four-time Nextel Cup champion Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet. In that visit to Eldora 16 years ago Gordon left victorious, as he won the Midget portion of the USAC Four Crown Nationals.

Stewart, with his long history of dirt track accomplishments – including last year’s Nextel Prelude trophy – will join Gordon as a former Nextel Cup champion. Recognized for his prowess behind the wheel of the No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet fielded by Joe Gibbs Racing, Stewart will have to fend off the challenges from the impressive roster of drivers that includes a mixed bag of dirt track experience. Some of the drivers have Eldora roots, some are Nextel Prelude returnees and others will be on the Eldora high banks for the very first time.

Rounding out the list of former Cup Series champions who will compete in the Nextel Prelude to the Dream are Matt Kenseth (2003), Bobby Labonte (2000) and Bill Elliott (1988).

With impressive credentials as the 2005 Nextel Cup Rookie of the Year, Kasey Kahne will join this year’s mix of drivers. And while new to the event, Kahne is not new to Eldora. He has a 2003 All Star Sprint victory at Eldora on his ever-expanding resume. Also joining the Nextel Prelude field and making their Eldora debuts will be Juan Pablo Montoya, Clint Bowyer, Ray Everham, and Kyle Busch.

Also in the fold is inaugural Nextel Prelude to the Dream winner Kenny Wallace, veteran dirt racers Ken Schrader and Dave Blaney, and Nextel Prelude returnees Mark Martin, Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola, Mike Wallace, Ryan Newman, JJ Yeley, Kyle Petty, Denny Hamlin, the ageless Red Farmer and drag racing standout Ron Capps.

Wearing his proverbial track owner hat, Stewart beams with pride when he reflects upon this event.

“The Eldora legacy is to go above and beyond for its loyal fans. The Nextel Prelude to the Dream carries on that tradition. Nextel has returned to partner with us, and with some of the best race car drivers in the world competing on the hallowed dirt of Eldora, it promises to be another memorable night.”

Stewart, hinting at even greater news in the coming weeks, stated, “Stay turned for a huge event-related announcement in a couple weeks and a list of additional star attendees.”

Tickets for the 2007 Nextel Prelude to the Dream, which sold out each of the past two years, are now available online at or by calling the track office (937) 338-3815.

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