Speed is intrinsic to the foothills of Northeast Tennessee - from the legendary tales of moonshiners snaking through its mountains to Bristol's modern-day colosseum, a venue where hair-raising battles were born from those early pursuits.  

But thunderous horsepower isn't the only thing streaking through these picturesque hills.

Boasting six Paralympic medals and a world record in the 400m relay, native son Blake Leeper is gaining notoriety on the international stage for his track-and-field accomplishments, and next week Leeper displays his quickness at the World's Fastest Half Mile when he returns home for the March 16 Food City 500.

"We're thrilled to welcome Blake home for the Food City 500," said BMS General Manager Jerry Caldwell. "His story, attitude and achievements truly are inspirational, and we are honored to recognize his accomplishments as part of our pre-race ceremonies."

The Church Hill, Tenn. native currently is training to become the first American double-amputee to compete in the Olympic Games. A bilateral below-the-knee amputee, Leeper has been using prosthetics since the age of nine.

"The only disability in life is a bad attitude, and the one thing that nobody can ever take away from you is the will to never give up," said Leeper.

Tickets to see both Blake and the stars of NASCAR sprint past the Last Great Colosseum finish line are still available with tickets to the Food City 500 as low as $70 and weekend packages starting at just $89. For more information on the March race weekend or to purchase tickets, visit www.bristoltix.com or call (855) 580-5525.