IZOD IndyCar Series Star Tony Kanaan to Compete in
Gillette Fusion ProGlide Prelude to the Dream
Testing Duties Prevent 2010 Indianapolis 500 Winner
Dario Franchitti from Participating in Prelude
ROSSBURG, Ohio (June 4, 2010) – Tony Kanaan, the 2004 IZOD IndyCar Series champion and nine-time Indianapolis 500 starter, will compete in the Gillette Fusion ProGlide Prelude to the Dream June 9 at the legendary Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. Dario Franchitti, winner of the 2010 Indianapolis 500, is unable to participate in the event due to testing obligations at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International.
Kanaan, who has 13 career victories in the IndyCar Series and one victory in the former CART series, will be the first foreign-born driver to compete in the Prelude since Colombian-born Juan Pablo Montoya in 2007.
“I’m thrilled to have the chance to compete in the Prelude to the Dream,” said Kanaan, who hails from Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. “It’s an amazing lineup of drivers and we’re all competing for such a good cause. It’s very rare for me to get a chance to drive something other than my Team 7-Eleven Indy car and to not have to race with points in mind. I’m not saying I’m going to do anything crazy, because the goal is to help my team win, but I’m definitely going to have some fun next week.”
Kanaan is one of the most popular drivers in the IZOD IndyCar Series and is coming off an impressive run in the 94th Indianapolis 500 last Sunday when he moved from his 33rd starting position to as high as second before finishing 11th after a late pit stop for fuel. Prior to this year’s 33rd-place starting spot, Kanaan had never started lower than sixth in the Indianapolis 500 and won the pole for the 2005 event.
He has four top-10 finishes in the ‘500,’ including a second-place result in 2004 and he holds the record for most consecutive races led, having led at least one lap in seven consecutive Indianapolis 500s between 2002 and 2008. Overall, his seven races at the point rank him 10th all-time in the category, just six races behind all-time leader A.J. Foyt, who led in 13 of his 35 starts at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Kanaan’s 208 total laps led at Indianapolis rank him 28th out of the 198 drivers who have led a lap in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.
“It’s pretty awesome to have someone like Tony Kanaan participate in the Gillette Fusion ProGlide Prelude to the Dream,” said Tony Stewart, two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion and the 1997 IndyCar Series champion. “He’s one of the best drivers in the IndyCar Series. He’s got a great personality and is a fun guy to be around. He’ll be a lot of fun to race with at the Prelude, and I know he’ll have a good time. Myself and several of the other drivers will be more than happy to help him figure out how to get around the dirt at Eldora.”
Franchitti, who earned an invitation to the Gillette Fusion ProGlide Prelude to the Dream by virtue of his second career Indianapolis 500 victory, is unable to join fellow IndyCar Series driver Kanaan in the Prelude as he is testing at Watkins Glen in preparation for the track’s Camping World Grand Prix IndyCar Series race July 2-4.
“I was really happy to receive the invitation to the Prelude, but due to the importance of the IndyCar test at Watkins Glen earlier the same day, I will be unable to attend,” Franchitti said. “I would like nothing more than to be there with Tony and the guys, but the team and I are focused on winning the IndyCar Series championship and that must take precedence. I wish the event every success and hope my schedule allows me to race at Eldora in the future.”
The Gillette Fusion ProGlide Prelude to the Dream will be presented live to the entire nation on HBO Pay-Per-View® with net proceeds from the telecast supporting four of the nation’s top children’s hospitals:
• Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis: www.RileyChildrensHospital.com
• Cincinnati Children’s: www.CincinnatiChildrens.org
• Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, N.C.: www.LevineChildrensHospital.org
• St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.: www.StJude.org
The event is headlined by the Gillette Young Guns: Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards and Joey Logano. All will join Stewart and many others, including fellow Sprint Cup champions Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, Bobby Labonte and Bill Elliott. Action sports legends Travis Pastrana and Ricky Carmichael will also participate. All will pilot 2,300-pound dirt Late Model stock cars capable of putting out more than 800 horsepower.
Beyond the charity element, this year’s Gillette Fusion ProGlide Prelude to the Dream is a team event. There will still be an individual race winner, but there will now be a race within the race, with the field broken up into four teams, each representing a children’s hospital:
• Team Riley: Bowyer (captain), Ryan Newman, Gordon, A.J. Allmendinger, Kenny Wallace and Ron Capps.
• Team Cincinnati: Kahne (captain), Logano, Stewart, Labonte, Elliott and Cruz Pedregon.
• Team Levine: Busch (captain), Johnson, Kenseth, David Reutimann, Dave Blaney, Marcos Ambrose and Pastrana.
• Team St. Jude: Hamlin (captain), Edwards, Schrader, Aric Almirola, Carmichael, Kanaan and Ray Evernham.
Each hospital will receive a donation, with the payout breakdown as follows:
• Winning team receives 45 percent of net money raised.
• Second-place team receives 25 percent of net money raised.
• Third- and fourth-place teams each receive 15 percent of net money raised.
The lowest team score wins, and only the top-five drivers from each team will be scored. For example, if Team Riley has finishes of first, fourth, seventh, 11th and 18th, respectively, from its top-five drivers, its score will be 41. In the event of a tie, the sixth driver will be scored.
Kanaan will join drivers from all types of disciplines, some with lots of dirt track experience and others with hardly any, will participate in hot laps, qualifying, heat races and a 30-lap feature, all of which will be televised live on HBO Pay-Per-View.
With no points and no pressure, the Gillette Fusion ProGlide Prelude to the Dream is a throwback race, allowing drivers to step back in time and compete for the reasons they all went racing in the first place – pride and a trophy. And they’ll do it on the same surface that racing legends and past Indianapolis 500 regulars Foyt and Mario Andretti competed on throughout the last 56 years.
The live, commercial-free broadcast will begin at 7 p.m. EDT (4 p.m. PDT) with 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. HBO Pay-Per-View is the leading supplier of event programming in the pay-per-view industry. Ordering information and up-to-the minute racing information is available at either www.PreludeToTheDream.org or www.HBO.com.
For those who want to see the Gillette Fusion ProGlide Prelude to the Dream in person, tickets are available online at www.EldoraSpeedway.com or by calling the track office (937) 338-3815. Act fast – the race has sold out in each of its five previous years.
Complete event information can be found in the Gillette Fusion ProGlide Prelude to the Dream online media kit at www.TrueSpeedMedia.com.