"I Have a Dream" is the popular name given to the speech delivered by Martin Luther King Jr. on Aug. 28, 1963 when he spoke about equality in the human race.
The words contained within the speech weren’t spoken for just a few to try and understand, but instead they were spoken for the nation that we all live in.
And since the true meaning of the word "nation" could be defined as "a large body of people associated with a particular territory," it would be easy to say that we, as fans of NASCAR, can also call ourselves "a nation."
Looking back to five years ago Tony Stewart also had a dream, and his dream was to bring together drivers from three different racing series, in equally prepared late models, all for the sake of mankind.
Mankind would benefit as this race would be run with all the proceeds going to charity.
“That is the best part of it. To me, that is the biggest compliment—that they are willing to take a day out of their schedule," said Stewart.
"And, for these guys to all do this once a year and come to our facility and race at a place I am very passionate about is something that is very humbling.
"But at the same time it shows their passion and compassion for charities and the fact that they work very hard to give back to communities,” said Stewart while speaking about the true meaning of the race.
In its fifth year, the event will support four different military-based charities which include The Wounded Warrior Project, Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, Operation Homefront, as well as the Fisher House, all catering to severely injured military personnel or fallen heroes and their families.
“It’s unreal. I guess it would be like Tiger Woods taking all of his buddies and going to play the local putt-putt course, or Michael Jordan taking all of his friends to the playground and shooting hoops. These guys all converge on this track and its fun, and it gets us back to our roots—why we got into racing to begin with.
"There are no points, no prize money, and the guys pay their own way to get there and it’s for a worthwhile cause—the injured and fallen soldiers and their families,” said an enthusiastic Stewart when asked about the magnitude of the event.
So as the sun sets over the cornfields of central Ohio on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 26 of the best drivers in the country will meet at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg for the newly named, fifth annual, Gillette Young Guns Prelude to the Dream.
This event is truly a one-of-a-kind race.
Where else do you get to see the top drivers of NASCAR, pitted against the best that the N.H.R.A. has to offer, all for the sake of charity, as well as the winner receiving a trophy and bragging rights that go beyond the race itself?
The main event will include such notables as three-time Daytona 500 champion and four-time cup champion Jeff Gordon.
“I think it’s fantastic. Obviously, with the Jeff Gordon Foundation, we focus a lot on kids. I know that Tony’s foundation does, as well."
And of course, no race would be complete without back-to-back-to-back Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson.
“I’m very much honored to be a part of it. Through my years of racing for Lowe’s, we’ve done a lot together to give back to the troops.
"It’s amazing. It feels so good to thank our troops in some way, shape or form, so I understand where Tony is going with it and certainly support him," said Johnson.
Kyle Busch, who brings with him 16 Sprint Cup wins, 27 Nationwide wins, and 13 Camping World Truck series wins, is no stranger to racing on dirt tracks.
“This year it is going to be special because of the fact that we are helping the injured soldiers and their families and that is fun to do because we have such a spot for them in our hearts for everything that they do."
Ryan Newman, who is also a Daytona 500 champion, as well as Stewart’s teammate driving the No. 39 U.S. Army sponsored Stewart/Haas Chevrolet, had this to say about the upcoming race.
“It’s definitely special. This is my first year with the U.S. Army on my chest and to know that there are a million soldiers out there fighting for our freedom and to have recognition for the ones who have been injured, it is really special.
"It's great what Tony is doing with the race and what he is trying to make of the whole event and how he respects what those heroes are doing for our country," Newman concluded.
Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer, Brian Vickers, Robby Gordon, David Reutimann, Bill Elliott, Dave Blaney, Aric Almirola, Kenny Wallace, Ken Schrader, Ron Capps, Cruz Pedregon, Ray Evernham, Joey Logano, and David Stremme have also committed.
The race is already sold out for its fifth straight year.
On Sept. 9, the live, commercial-free broadcast will begin at 7:00 pm EDT (4:00 pm PDT), followed by an immediate replay. HBO Pay-Per-View’s racing telecast has a suggested retail price of $24.95 and is available to more than 71 million pay-per-view homes.
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