The 2010 version of the Gillette Fusion ProGlide Prelude to the Dream charity race at Tony Stewart's Eldora track introduced a brand-new element: team competition. Each of the 27 drivers in the field got assigned to a team, and each team competed as a whole for a different charitable organization. Great idea, right? Keeps everyone in the game, even those motorcycling types who couldn't seem to figure out how to use four wheels rather than two.
First off, here are the teams:
Team Riley: Clint Bowyer (captain) (2nd), Ryan Newman (16th), Jeff Gordon (22nd), A.J. Allmendinger (11th), Justin Allgaier (26th), Kenny Wallace (27th) and Ron Capps (20th). Playing for: Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis: www.RileyChildrensHospital.com
Team Cincinnati: Kasey Kahne (captain) (8th), Joey Logano (13th), Tony Stewart (6th), Bobby Labonte (12th), Bill Elliott (10th) and Cruz Pedregon (25th). Playing for: Cincinnati Children’s: www.CincinnatiChildrens.org
Team Levine: Kyle Busch (captain) (4th), Jimmie Johnson (1st), Matt Kenseth (18th), David Reutimann (21st), Dave Blaney (7th), Marcos Ambrose (15th) and Travis Pastrana (23rd). Playing for: Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, N.C.: www.LevineChildrensHospital.org
Team St. Jude: Denny Hamlin (captain) (5th), Carl Edwards (3rd), Ken Schrader (9th), Aric Almirola (14th), Ricky Carmichael (19th), Tony Kanaan (24th) and Ray Evernham (17th). Playing for: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.: www.StJude.org
Now, the teams at first appeared fairly closely matched; each had its dirt-track experts and its ... well, let's just be polite and call them backmarkers. But as the race wore on, it quickly became clear that Team Levine was the class outfit of the joint. The fact that Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch and Dave Blaney were running 1-2-3 most of the race was a testament to that.
(Aside: Blaney damn sure deserves a better ride based on his showing here, and I'd be surprised if he wasn't running some whole-race equipment — *cough*83*cough* — before the year is out.)
The team competition totaled the scores of the top-5 drivers, The winning team scored 45 percent of the net proceeds raised, with the second-place team getting 25 percent and the final two splitting 15 percent. Team Levine finished with 45 points, Team St. Jude was second with 48 points, Team Cincinnati finished third with 49 points, and Team Riley was, well, a solid fourth with 71 points.
Check out more on the Prelude, including how to donate to one of the teams, click here and reach for that wallet.
- Tony Stewart