On June 3, 2009 Tony Stewart's Eldora Speedway will play host to the fifth annual "Prelude to the Dream," a unique affair that features NASCAR and National driving stars behind the wheel of dirt Late Model machines in a full blown event, complete with time trial runs, heat races and a consolation race leading up to the featured main event.
"The all-star dirt Late Model race, featuring 25 world renowned drivers as they battle for dirt supremacy will be presented live to the enitre nation on HBO Pay-Per-View, with proceeds from the telecast going to support four Military-themed charities:
- Wounded Warrior Project: www.WoundedWarriorProject.org
- Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund: www.FallenHeroesFund.org
- Operation Homefront: www.OperationHomefront.net
- Fisher House: www.FisherHouse.org
“The Prelude to the Dream just keeps getting bigger every year,” said Stewart, a multi-time racing champion and proud owner of Eldora Speedwary. “Since HBO Pay-Per-View began televising the Prelude in 2007, we’ve been able to help a lot of deserving charities. specifically the Victory Junction Gang Camp.
“But in light of what’s going on in our world today- with our troops engaged in combat in Afghanistan, Iraq and other places around the world — we felt it was time to do something for those who came back from serving their country with severe injuries, and for those families whose loved ones never made it back.”
The four charities- Wounded Warrior Project, Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, Operation Homefront, and Fisher House- all cater to severely injured military personnel or fallen heroes and their families.
The four previous Prelude to the Dreams have collectively raised more than $2 million. With each year’s event gaining significant stature and mainstream interest, Stewart’s gaol is to have the fifth annual Prelude to the Dream raise $1 million. with the proceeds impacting the four charities.
“It’s an ambitious goal, especially in this economy” admits Stewart. “But if we don’t shoot for a number that is a true difference-maker. we’re not ever going to reach it. That’s our goal, and me and everybody else associated with this event is going to do everything we can to meet that goal. Now, we just need everyone out there to purchase the event, enjoy all the action going on at Eldora, and support our heroes who are protecting our freedom.”
This year one lucky fan will benefit from a pairing up of one of the sport's most outspoken drivers and a healthy dose of "whoop-ass" to create a recipe of sweet charity.
Stewart has teamed up with irreverent, prank call comedian Lee Roy Mercer to present the "Tony Stewart Prelude to the Dream Pit Pass Contest for Charity."
The Grand Prize winner will receive an all-inclusive race package to the Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, OH; which includes round trip airfare and two nights hotel accommodations. The winner will also receive a VIP Pit Pass, allowing free access to the Speedway, the opportunity to hang out with Lee Roy Mercer in the infield/garage area and meet Tony Stewart and many other drivers "in a laid back atmosphere" during the charity race Pay-Per-View event held on June 3, 2009.
For details and your chance to win, visit www.leeroymercer.com and click the contest banner at the top of the page.
In addition, you can purchase one of Lee Roy's CDs. I recommend, the hysterical, "Gone Racin'." A compilation of unscripted prank phone calls to some of NASCAR's most prominent drivers.
Proceeds from Lee Roy's new CD, Greatest Threats, as well as the Gone Racin' disc will benefit the Tony Stewart Foundation in support of Kyle Petty's new Victory Junction Gang Camp II, KC.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Mr. Mercer and asked what the winner could expect from him.
"One thing the winner of the Contest can expect is for me to show 'em the best Whoop-Ass time of their life at the historically famous Eldora Speedway. I am good friends with many of the drivers that will be participating in the event including Mr. Tony Stewart and I plan to introduce the winner to some of their favorites, but keep everything laid back and fun as the drivers have come to expect during the Prelude To The Dream."
Mercer participated in the 2008 Prelude To The Dream, where he had free reign to punk and prank anyone and everyone!
An impromptu, comedic masterpiece ensued when NASCAR team owner Ray Evernham was caught yucking it up in the infield with Lee Roy. Viewers of the HBO Pay-Per-View in were stitches as Kyle Petty, Darrell Waltrip, and Mike Joy tried to maintain their composure in the announcer's booth during Lee Roy's hilarious, "southern-fried" antics.
Mercer even made the trip as a Stewart's special celebrity guest of honor to Victory Lane for the Prelude's post race celebration and festivities.
Prior to the Prelude, Smoke guaranteed Kyle Petty and the Victory Junction Gang a one million dollar donation from the event. With an estimated turn out of 23,000, combined with the generous support of race fans and the NASCAR community, Stewart's goal was met.
As Tony presented the check to the Petty family, he added, "The Victory Junction Gang camps have become such a part of my family too. That’s what it is all about. We all get to have fun out here and get to drive dirt cars, but it’s a lot deeper and bigger cause than that.”
Kyle Petty responded. “It’s like the (Kyle Petty) charity ride we do every summer. “We have a good time riding motorcycles, but we raise a lot of money for charity. Nobody says that you have to have a bad time raising money for charity. You can have a good time, too.”
So, open your heart to this remarkable cause and have a little fun along the way! in return you could be headed to Eldora for the time of your life, courtesy of Tony Stewart and Lee Roy Mercer.
Many thanks to Mr. Lee Roy Mercer for his participation in this article and support of the Tony Stewart Foundation, as well as the Victory Junction Gang Camp, II KC. Despite claiming "It ain't nothing for me to whoop a man's ass," he was nothing but true southern gentleman to me!
Thank-you to Kyle Petty and Tony Stewart for all that you do to make the Victory Junction Gang Camp a success, it is much appreciated. Keep up the great work!
Photo courtesy of Jon Holtz, used by permission of Lee Roy Mercer
The live, commercial-free broadcast will begin at 7:00 pm ET, with an immediate replay and subsequent replays throughout the week and the following weekend. HBO Pay-Per-View’s racing telecast has suggested a retail price of $24.95 and is available to more than 71 million pay-per-view homes. HBO Pay-Per-View is the leading supplier of even programming in the pay-perview industry. Ordering information and up-to-the minute racing information is available atwww.hbo.com.