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Kanaan Has 'Crazy' Time Racing On Dirt In Prelude


Three-time Brickyard 400 winner Jimmie Johnson stood in Victory Circle and IZOD IndyCar Series driver Tony Kanaan finished 24th in his dirt Late Model debut, but the real winners were four children’s hospitals.

Johnson led all 30 laps of the Gillette Fusion ProGlide Prelude to the Dream charity race June 9 at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, a dirt oval owned by two-time Brickyard 400 winner Tony Stewart.

“By far, this is the craziest thing I have ever done," Kanaan said after climbing out of the 7-Eleven car. "I had a lot of fun. I can’t describe it.

“I definitely put myself in a very difficult spot, not testing and never being on dirt in my life. In 35 years, I’ve never driven a car like this or on a surface like this. I really have to thank Tony Stewart. I hope the fans enjoyed it. I’m definitely going to practice, and I hope to be back next year.

“The biggest thing I learned is that, while we think our racetrack changes a lot -- this is completely another world. I can drive with the brakes and the throttle at the same time, which I can’t do in my IndyCar.”

The event was presented live on HBO Pay-Per-View, with net proceeds from the telecast supporting four children's hospitals. The race was a team event with the field broken up into four groups, each representing a children's hospital:

•Team Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis: Clint Bowyer (captain), Ryan Newman, Jeff Gordon, A.J. Allmendinger, Justin Allgaier, Kenny Wallace and Ron Capps.

•Team Cincinnati Children’s: Kasey Kahne (captain), Joey Logano, Tony Stewart, Bobby Labonte, Bill Elliott and Cruz Pedregon.

•Team Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, N.C.: Kyle Busch (captain), Johnson, Matt Kenseth, David Reutimann, Dave Blaney, Marcos Ambrose and Travis Pastrana.

•Team St. Jude Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.: Denny Hamlin (captain), Carl Edwards, Ken Schrader, Aric Almirola, Ricky Carmichael, Ray Evernham and Kanaan.

The finishing positions of the top-five drivers from each team were added together with the lowest team score winning 45 percent of the net money raised. Team St. Jude finished second with 48 points and will receive 25 percent.


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