Prelude to the Dream takes place annually at Eldora Speedway, left, a small dirt track in Rossburg, Ohio. The track is owned by Tony Stewart, famed Sprint Cup driver and he invited his friends, other famous NASCAR drivers, to join him for a night of dirt track racing and fundraising.
The event benefits the Tony Stewart Foundation and Victory Junction Gang Camp, a camp founded by Kyle Petty and his family to give children with chronic illnesses a place to be a child and still receive top medical care. Stewart and friends did meet their goal of $1,000,000 for the camp.
Truthfully, these drivers are celebrities and athletes, but they've shown that they are human beings first. I'm amazed every day at how much they give back and Stewart is no exception.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. was not there for the big day, but make no mistake, he contributes as well.
June 4 was the scheduled day for 2008 and the event sold out with more than 23,000 fans in attendance to watch as Stewart dominated the race and took home the win.
The day began for my family at noon when we hit the road for Eldora. Two and a half hours later we were parking our vehicle in a grass field and watched as another driver parked his car next to us... while drinking his beer.
Then we walked toward the track. The smell of marijuana permeated my senses and again, I fought the urge to give in to the stereotype.
Inside the track, my faith was renewed as fans laughed and shared their reasons why they wanted to be present at this track on this day.
I know that I was looking forward to seeing these wealthy men who race cars for a living come back to their roots and enjoy the sport just for the sake of getting messy and going fast. I was not disappointed.
I watched as a large tractor, right, went around and around the track, preparing it for the night's event. Before long I became aware that the driver, the track worker, was none other than Stewart. He proved it was his track and he would be the one to care for it. Once that was finished, he proceeded to drive an old pickup truck around and around in circles to smooth it out for his friends. He even dragged a few of the drivers with him to enjoy the work.
The race was enjoyable and there will be more stories to come, but the end of the race was not exciting at all.
The bathrooms were horrendous and most of them didn't work anymore. It was sickening. Once we got out to our car, it got worse.
Nobody understood the concept of 'the zipper,' which is when cars take turns getting out of places. My family and I sat in our car for an hour and a half as drunks wandered around muttering incoherently. One guy threw his lawn chair by our car as he screamed for Larry at the top of his lungs. I don't know who Larry is, but I was glad I wasn't him that night.
Eventually we got onto the road and had a few more adventures, all which will be revealed, but for now I can honestly say that with all the craziness of the nightmare of leaving, the prelude to that nightmare was good enough to make me head back next year.
It was wild and crazy, but my daughter, right, had a blast and even with the crazed fans and the nutty drunkards, there is nothing that could stop us from making this a family trip on a regular basis.