BRISTOL — Food City will celebrate the 20th anniversary of its sponsorship of the Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway Aug. 24 with a very special guest as grand marshal.
The legendary Pat Summitt, the all-time winningest coach in NCAA basketball history who won eight NCAA national championships while coaching at the University of Tennessee, will give the command for drivers to start their engines for the Food City 250, the most popular Nationwide Series race on the NASCAR schedule.
Steven C. Smith, Food City president and chief executive officer, is honored to have Summitt giving the command for the Food City 250.
“As a long-time partner of University of Tennessee athletics, Food City is honored to have Coach Summitt serve as our Grand Marshal,” he said. “Her success and dedication have earned Coach Summitt the title of one of the most respected individuals in all of sports. She is an ideal role model for youth throughout the entire nation.”
This will mark Summitt’s first visit to the World’s Fastest Half-Mile.
“I have always loved sports and will be honored to be the Grand Marshal for the Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway,” said Summitt. “It will be a thrill to hear the engines fire up and the crowd while I say, “Drivers, start your engines.”
Summitt, who stepped down as coach of the Lady Vols in April of this year, was diagnosed with early on-set Alzheimer’s disease in August of 2011 and is now the Lady Vols’ head coach emeritus. She is the only coach in NCAA history, and one of three college coaches overall, with 1,000 wins.
Summitt was named the Naismith Basketball Coach of the Century in 2009. In 38 years of coaching the Vols (1974- 2012) she never had a losing season and finished her career with an amazing 1098-208 record.
Trevor Bayne, a Knoxville resident and NASCAR Sprint Cup/Nationwide Series driver, will pilot a “We Back Pat™”- themed Roush Fenway Ford sponsored by YourRaceCar. com in the Food City 250.
“I have a number of friends and family who are big NASCAR fans, and we have been talking about the fun we will have cheering on the “We Back Pat” car and all the other drivers,” said Summitt.
“I am deeply touched by the support shown from the race, the participants and fans toward The Pat Summitt Foundation and our commitment to fight Alzheimer’s through awareness, advocacy and research.”
Food City also marks the 25th Anniversary of its popular Food City Race Night fan-based events, among the largest on the NASCAR circuit. Food City Race Night, which takes place in downtown Bristol Aug. 23, 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 among Sprint Cup race sponsors.
The Food City 250 takes the green flag Friday night, Aug. 24, at 7:30.