As the area prepares for the onslaught of race fans and RV’s, the folks at Food City are gearing up for the annual Food City Race Night, which paves the way for a weekend of action-packed Nationwide and Sprint Cup racing at one of NASCAR’s most popular venues.  The event will take place on Thursday, August 25, 2011 on State Street in downtown Bristol, VA/TN.  Food City has hosted the highly popular event, which have contributed over $500,000 in proceeds to area non-profits for nearly twenty-five years. 

Join Food City as they honor Jeff Gordon, four-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion and driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet and Jimmie Johnson, five-time NASCAR champion and driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet during on-state ceremonies beginning at 5:30 p.m.  Country music sensation Rodney Atkins will take the stage from 7:30 until 8:45 p.m. for a live concert performance.  Atkins’ 2006 platinum-selling album “If You’re Going Through Hell” produced an amazing four number one hits and the Number One country song of the year in 2006 and 2007.  In 2009, he charted his fifth number one single with It’s America, followed by a number of other chart topping releases, earning him the Academy of Country Music’s Top New Male Vocalist award, five other ACM nominations and two Country Music Association nominations.  

Fans can expect a fun-filled evening jam-packed with driver autograph sessions, show cars, simulators, souvenir trailers, entertainment and a smorgasbord of free food samples.  The action will get underway at 1:00 p.m. and continue until 9:00 p.m.  $5.00 advance tickets are available at area Food City locations.  Tickets will be $6.00 on the day of the event.  Children twelve and under are admitted free of charge.  Proceeds from the event will benefit Holston Home for Children and Heaven of Rest Rescue Mission.  This year’s media sponsors are Bristol Herald Courier and 11 Connects. 

“Food City is committed to giving back to the community.  Our NASCAR sponsorship enables us to host our annual Food City Race Night events, which provide an inexpensive evening of excitement for the entire family,” says Ron Bonacci, vice president of marketing for Food City. 

Food City has already received confirmation from several big name drivers and attractions, with more expected in.  Among those already confirmed are Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer (300 wristbands will be given out from autograph table beginning at 4 p.m.), Todd Bodine, Eric McClure, Morgan Shepherd, Steve Wallace, Elliott Sadler, Robby Gordon, David Starr, Timmy Hill, Derrike Cope and Caleb Holman.

Special appearances will also be made by Hermie Sadler of SPEED Channel, Miss Food City, Elizabeth Robinette, John Earnhardt, USAR Pro Cup driver Blake Jones, Legend driver Zack Walton, UARA drivers Candace Muzny and Kaleb Pressley, Whelen All-America driver Nick Cole, Late Model drivers Cody McMahan, Brandon Rogers and Matthew Eades, Lonesome Pine Drivers Harold Crook, Ryan Stiltner, Kevin Wolfe, Drew Shortridge and Dwayne Mullins, Legend drivers Paul Lewis, Gary Potter and Brownie King, Go-Kart driver Brandon Morris, Crew Chief Shane Wilson, NASCAR Artist Sam Bass, book authors David McGee and Joe Tennis and the Food City Big Cart.

Live entertainment on two stages is schedule to begin at 1:00 p.m. and will feature Cody Shuler & Pine Mtn. Railroad, Cadillac Blue, Jonathon Birchfield, Rhonda Vincent & The Rage and many others. 

Free food sampling will be available from 4 until 9:00 p.m., while supplies last.  Shuttle services will be available from 11:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m.  Pick-up and drop off locations include: the Bruton Smith Building (front entrance) at Bristol Motor Speedway; Tower 9/Speedway Blvd. at BMS; Hwy. 11E & Whitetop Road; Hwy 394 and Whitetop Road; Hwy. 394 & Copperhead Road and the Bristol Mall - Exit 1 off I-81.  The event site is just minutes from Bristol Motor Speedway.

A second Food City Race Night is also planned for Wednesday, August 24th at the Expo Center in Knoxville, TN from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.  So mark your calendar and make plans to attend Food City Race Night.  For a complete listing of Food City Race Night attractions, please view the Food City Race Night page online, where updates will continue to be posted as they become available.  Please note that driver autographs are limited to time available and schedules are subject to change.