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Food City 500 race weekend will feature a special Navy flair to celebrate Navy week in the Tri-Cities

The All-American patriotic feel of a race weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway is headed to another level as Tri-Cities Navy Week and the Food City 500 race weekend overlap March 30 – April 5.

As Navy Week brings sailors and equipment from 12 units to the region to help educate the public about the capabilities, importance and value of today’s Navy, race fans will also get to experience the power of the Navy firsthand at the track, April 3-5. From an impressive flyover featuring F/A-18E Super Hornets to appearances by numerous Navy musical ensembles and patriotic occurrences in pre-race, Bristol Motor Speedway will be the place to be to witness the strength of the US military.

“It’s always special to honor our great men and women in uniform, and we are looking forward to celebrating U.S. Navy Week at Bristol Motor Speedway with many incredible activities planned during the 60th running of the Food City 500,” said Jerry Caldwell, executive vice president and general manager of Bristol Motor Speedway. “We’re looking forward to showcasing these amazing service members and their vast skillsets and can’t wait for our guests to experience all the pageantry, fun, entertainment and education that the Navy has to offer.”

“We’re excited to anchor Tri-Cities Navy Week on the Food City 500 race weekend,” said Lt. John Stevens, an event planner with the Navy Office of Community Outreach, who is also a graduate of East Tennessee State University (ETSU) and a former Johnson City, Tenn. resident. “Our mission for Navy Week is to educate the American public about the capabilities, importance, and value of today’s Navy. With a large audience both at-track and on national television. Bristol Motor Speedway is an ideal place to do that.”

The pinnacle of Navy Week festivities at the race track will come on Sunday with an impressive floyover. F/A-18E Super Hornets from the VFA-143 Squadron will take to the skies to celebrate the start of the 60th running of the Food City 500. Based out of Naval Air Station Oceana in Hampton Roads, Va., “The Pukin Dogs” of VFA-143 are a prime example of the Navy’s strike fighter capabilities.

Throughout race weekend, fans can listen to the sounds of numerous Navy bands all over property. Highlighted acts include the Navy Band Southeast out of Jacksonville, Fla. as well as special performances by Country Current, the Navy’s official pop country and bluegrass brand. The trip to Bristol Motor Speedway will be a homecoming of sorts as three of Country Current’s performers are graduates of ETSU’s Bluegrass and Old Time Country Music program. Musical performances will be scheduled throughout the weekend in the Fan Zone and Fan Midway as well as at Food City Family Race Night on Friday evening.

Guests visiting the Fan Zone will have the chance to see multiple units up-close and in person. This includes Navy divers who will appear in the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command portable dive tank as well as other interactive displays.

Pre-race festivities on Friday and Saturday will both feature a Navy flair. On both days, Navy Sailors will lead the Pledge of Allegiance and the Navy Drill Team will perform for the crowd. Saturday will feature the National Anthem sung by a member of the Navy Band while Sunday will welcome crewmembers from the world’s oldest active warship, USS Constitution, to perform color guard.

With all the festivities surrounding Navy Week at the track, Bristol Motor Speedway has a special offer for members of the Navy and their families. All active and retired Navy personnel can call the BMS ticket office and purchase a half-priced ticket to the Food City 500. Those interested can call 423-BRISTOL.

Weekend tickets for the Food City 500 are available and begin at $80 for adults. Kids 12-and-under are free for both Friday and Saturday and are only $10 for Sunday. Teenagers (13-19) are free on Friday and eligible for half-priced grandstand tickets Saturday and Sunday. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 423-BRISTOL or visit BristolTix.com.

— Bristol Motor Speedway —