Thursday, June 7, 2012

Kyle Busch has One Perfect Night at Eldora Speedway

Fireworks fill the air as Kyle Busch celebrates in Victory Lane.
Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for True Speed Communication
Kyle Busch added another trophy to his case and a win in yet another series to his resume with his victory in the 2012 Prelude to the Dream. Tony Stewart's charity invitational drew 26 drivers with over 60 championships in 11 series to race on the hallowed ground of dirt racing, Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, with proceeds from the gate and the HBO Pay-Per-View going to Feed the Children.

For a few hours, the world of NASCAR set aside the drama and melodrama of the week and focused on good, hard, basic racing.

After hot laps, qualifying, and four heat races that saw a variety of crashes and some thrilling passes, Busch took advantage of leader Kasey Kahne's misfortune to leave everyone else fighting for second. Bobby Labonte had problems keeping car from spinning. The last time he spun, Kahne had nowhere to go and ended up with his car in pieces, ending his dominant run in the charity event.

Stewart fought with Austin Dillon to finish second, with the older of the Dillon boys settling for third. Donny Schatz, who despite being a World of Outlaws champion, had never run a Late Model stock car before today, finished fourth. Ryan Newman had to work to finish fifth ahead of Aric Almirola in sixth. Dave Blaney started in the rear of the field because he didn't make it to the track from Pocano until the first heat was already in progress, but fought his way up to eighth, pushing past Ty Dillon who came in 9th. Justin "Little Gator" Allgaier rounded out the top ten and along with the other nine, get the chance to send a truckload of food to the city of his or her choice.

Jimmie Johnson, the 2010 winner, finished 11th, Kenny Wallace 12th, Ray Evernham 13th, Bill Elliot 14th, and Danica Patrick in her dirt debut came in 15th.

The theme of the evening may have been "One Perfect Night" but it could have been simply "Fun."  While all the drivers kept the charity front and center, they also enjoyed racing opponents they either normally face in a different venue or never get to race at all.

Kyle Busch described the race. “This event is fun. It takes you through a whole night of short-track racing at a local dirt track. You get some practices in, you get the local show that comes out and still participates. But then you also get all your stars. All the big players you see racing in the Camping World Truck Series, the Nationwide Series, NHRA guys come out, Sprint car guys come out. Sprint Cup guys, of course, and it’s all thrown together and we’re racing on dirt, in something we all don’t really race very often. And it’s just a fun show. It’s great, and it’s for charity, with the money raised through the HBO Pay-Per-View going to Feed The Children.”

Highlights of the evening:
  • DW taking a ride around the track with Smoke in a two-seater Late Model.  The excitement (and fear) evident on Waltrip as Smoke did not take it easy on him during their laps around the track. 
  • During the first heat, Tony Stewart tried his favorite slide-job move on Ty Dillon, but ended up getting beat by the kid, though both lost out to Austin Dillon. 
  • GoDaddy and .org donated $25,000 to Feed The Children
  • The A-Main started with four-wide parade laps accompanied by fireworks, then fireworks on four wheels followed throughout the race. 
In the end, though, Kyle Busch held on to the lead despite challenges by Stewart and Cruz Pedregon. In the main, there were 3 lead changes: Kahne led 1-12; Bowyer 13-21; Kahne 22-24; and Kyle. Busch 25-40. 

Final order for the 40 lap main event:

1.   (2)  Kyle Busch, 40
2.   (9)  Tony Stewart, 40  
The 2012 Prelude to the Dream roster of drivers pose
for a picture before the race.
Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for True Speed Communication
3.   (4)  Austin Dillon, 40
4.   (8)  Donny Schatz, 40
5.   (6)  Ryan Newman, 40
6.  (10)  Aric Almirola, 40
7.  (18)  Cruz Pedregon, 40
8.  (20)  Dave Blaney, 40
9.   (5)  Ty Dillon, 40
10. (22)  Justin Allgaier, 40
11. (14)  Jimmie Johnson, 40
12. (15)  Kenny Wallace, 40
13. (16)  Ray Evernham, 39
14. (19)  Bill Elliott, 39
15. (25)  Danica Patrick, 37
16.  (1)  Kasey Kahne, 24, Accident
17.  (7)  Bobby Labonte, 24, Accident
18. (12)  Jason Leffler, 23, Mechanical
19.  (3)  Clint Bowyer, 22, Mechanical
20. (21)  David Gilliland, 18, Mechanical
21. (23)  Ron Capps, 3, Accident
22. (13)  Tony Kanaan, 2, Mechanical
23. (24)  J.J. Yeley, 2, Accident
24. (11)  Kenny Schrader, 1, Accident
25. (17)  Steve Kinser, 1, Accident
26. (26)  Kurt Busch, DNS, Accident in Heat Race


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