Tuesday, June 27, 2006



CNN Presents Explores American Summertime Obsession in Dirt Track Warriors

Documentary Spotlights Small-town Sport With 30 Million Fans

Before NASCAR, high-speed race car drivers raced on dirt - and they still do. Dirt track automobile racing - an estimated billion dollar a year business with 30 million fans - is "the biggest sport you′ve never heard of," according to the new documentary CNN PRESENTS: DIRT TRACK WARRIORS, premiering on Saturday, July 1, at 8 p.m., with a replay at 11 p.m. Dirt Track Warriors re-airs on Sunday, July 2, at 2 a.m., 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. All times Eastern.

Dirt Track Warriors is narrated by Miles O′Brien and features exclusive access to the personal and professional lives of the drivers of lightweight, high-horsepower racing machines called "dirt late model" cars. The documentary follows racing "bad boy" Scott Bloomquist, Chub "Chubzilla" Frank and teenager Josh "Kid Rocket" Richards through a season of high-speed, dirt-throwing racing, climaxing with dirt late model′s biggest prize, the World 100 at Eldora Speedway in rural Ohio.

The sport boasts 800 dirt tracks in 49 states. As Tim Lee, editor of Dirt Late Model magazine, explains: "Saturday night dirt track racing is like the summertime equivalent of Friday night football - especially in smaller towns. It′s a center of community."

Renowned NASCAR driver Tony Stewart, now the owner of Eldora Speedway, sometimes surprises spectators by racing there on his days off.

"I make my living driving on pavement every week, but I really think that dirt racing is where my passion has been," Stewart says. "I′ve always been more interested in dirt racing than pavement."

For Dirt Track Warriors, senior producer Ted Rubenstein interviewed dirt track's "kings" throughout the 2005 racing season and offers viewers a look at the grueling life on the dirt track circuit through heartland America, which sometimes puts great strain on the personal lives of the drivers and their families. With the eyes of the racing world on the World 100, viewers learn whether 17-year-old phenom Josh "Kid Rocket" Richards will qualify for his first World 100 competition; whether Scott Bloomquist, celebrating his 25th year in dirt track racing will win his fourth championship at Eldora; or, whether "Chubzilla" can repeat his 2004 first-place success.

CNN PRESENTS: DIRT TRACK WARRIORS was produced by Ted Rubenstein, with field producing by Emily Probst and Jamie Hutton. Mark Nelson is vice president and senior executive producer of CNN Productions. A CNN audio podcast with Dirt Track Warriors producer Ted Rubenstein is available by linking to: http://i.a.cnn.net/cnn/services/podcasting/long.form/audio/2006/06/dirtwarriors.mp3