Food City officials recently announced that Deputy Carolyn Gudger has been named Grand Marshal for the August 26th Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

“Food City is locally owned and operated and we’re proud to have one of our area heroes represent our company as Grand Marshal of the upcoming Food City 250,” said Steven C. Smith, Food City president and chief executive officer. 

Deputy Gudger serves as school resource officer for Sullivan Central High School.  Last August she courageously placed herself between an armed gunman and school officials until backup could arrive.  Deputy Gudger was recently nominated by a school parent for the 2011 America’s Most Wanted All-Stars and was selected as a top 8 finalist from among 86 candidates across the country.  The national award honors America’s emergency service first responders. 

Deputy Gudger’s nomination profile recounts the terrifying events of August 30th

“Upon returning to Sullivan Central High School, Gudger encountered a man in the parking lot – but when confronted he drove away.  As she entered the school’s front foyer, Deputy Gudger found the same man standing at the front door demanding to speak with the school’s principal.  When the principal came out of her office, the man pulled out a handgun.  Deputy Gudger acted without hesitation placing herself between the gunman and the frightened principal.  Gudger’s 15 years of experience and training were put to the test as she waited for back up.  Her skills as a negotiator enabled her to keep the gunman away from students and faculty until other deputies arrived.  But even then, the gunman refused to back down or give up his weapon – forcing the deputies to shoot him to death ending the hour long threat.  Deputy Gudger’s heroic actions prevented what could have become an even more tragic incident.  Sullivan Central now considers her it’s “Guardian Angel.”  The students who affectionately call her “The Gudge” wear t-shirts with that nickname on the front and “She’s Got Our Backs” on the back.” 

"I deeply appreciate the great honor that Food City has bestowed upon me to be named the 2011 Food City 250 Grand Marshal,” said Deputy Gudger.  “I feel as though I have been divinely favored.  I would never have thought of myself as being the next Grand Marshal.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank Food City and everyone who has been so supportive and gracious to me.  God bless each one of you."

Each year, Food City selects an individual to serve as the event grand marshal.  A number of public officials and well-known figures have been privileged to announce the four most popular words in motorsports “Gentlemen, start your engines”

Food City is Bristol Motor Speedway’s longest running sponsor and the second longest in NASCAR motor sports.  For nearly 25 years, Food City has also hosted Family Race Night, one of the premier pre-race events on the circuit.  Since its inception, Food City Family Race Night has contributed over $500,000 to numerous non-profit organizations.

The Food City 250 gets under way at 7:30 p.m. Friday, August 26th, followed by the IRWIN Tools Night Race at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, August 27th.  Qualifying begins at 3:40 p.m. on Friday.  Tickets are still available and may be purchased at or by calling the BMS ticket office at (423) 989-6900.

Headquartered in Abingdon, Virginia, K-VA-T Food Stores, Inc. (Food City’s parent company) operates 106 retail food outlets throughout the tri-state regions of Southeast Kentucky, Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee.  For more information, visit their website at