Food City Store Managers to Serve as Event Grand Marshals

As the March race weekend nears, 2012 is cause for added celebration for the folks at Food City.  This year marks the 20th Anniversary of the retail supermarket’s sponsorship of the Food City 500 (March) and the Food City 250 (August).  The company also celebrates the 25th Anniversary of their popular Food City Race Night fan-based events, which are among the largest on the circuit.  Additionally, Food City Race Night has contributed a combined total of over $500,000 to numerous local non-profit organizations.

Food City is Bristol Motor Speedway’s longest running sponsor and the second longest in all of NASCAR.

“A large number of our customers are NASCAR fans.  They’re loyal to Food City, to Bristol, to the sport, to their drivers and to their products,” says Steven C. Smith, Food City president and chief executive officer.  “We would like to thank our customers and associates for their tremendous support and dedication, which makes this all possible and our Bristol Motor Speedway family for twenty unforgettable years!”

In honor of this historic occasion, Food City has invited the store managers from each of their 104 supermarkets to serve as Grand Marshals for the March 18th event.  President & CEO, Steve Smith will lead the group in uttering the four most famous words in motorsports, “Gentlemen, start your engines”.

“Like Bristol Motor Speedway, Food City is committed to exceeding the expectations of our customers,” said Smith.  “We’ve worked hard to leverage our relationship with NASCAR and our vendor partners to create added excitement for our customers from the store, to the campground, to Food City Race Night, to the track for an unforgettable total Bristol experience.  Teamwork has been the key to our success and we’re excited to celebrate this special day as a team, representing the hard work and efforts of our 13,000 outstanding Food City associates.”

Food City’s Vice President of Store Development, Don Smith will serve as Honorary Starter for the Anniversary event.  A resident of Kingsport, Tennessee, Smith boasts 44 years of service with the company and has been extremely instrumental in developing and directing Food City’s race program.  Smith was chosen to wave the green flag by his fellow Food City associates in recognition for his extraordinary leadership and continued commitment to their race initiatives.

"Having worked in racing for 25 years, the thing I’ve enjoyed the most and that’s been most rewarding to me personally has been the opportunity to work with so many tremendous individuals that I would otherwise never have been privileged to meet – from the drivers, to the team owners, to the sponsors and track owners,” says Don Smith.  “Looking back at what we’ve accomplished over the last 25 years, the thing I’m most proud of is the impact that our sponsorship and involvement has had on our customers (the fans) and our associates.  It’s really made the sport so much more accessible to them and given them an opportunity to interact more with the sport and the track.  The team at Bristol Motor Speedway is such an outstanding group of folks.  They’ve really dedicated themselves to improving their facilities and the overall fan experience to ensure that they exceed expectations on every level.  It’s truly been an honor and a privilege to work with the Food City race program for the last twenty-five years,” adds Smith.

The 20th Anniversary Food City 500 will get underway on Sunday, March 18 at 1:00 p.m.  Qualifying takes place Friday, March 16 at 3:40 p.m., followed by Food City Race Night at Bristol Motor Speedway from 4:00 until 9:00 p.m.  The Nationwide Series drivers take the track on Saturday, March 17th at 2:00 p.m. for the running of the Ford EcoBoost 300, followed by the Widow Wax 125 K&N Series race at 6:15 p.m.

Tickets are available to all events and may be purchased by calling the BMS ticket office toll free at 1-866-415-4158, 423-BRISTOL (274-7865) or 423-989-6900. Fans also may purchase tickets online.