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NASCAR drivers, live music, show cars, simulators, food, and games greeted fans Thursday at the annual Food City Family Race Night on State Street in downtown Bristol, a twin city located on the state line of Virginia and Tennessee.
Between 40,000 and 50,000 race fans crowded downtown for the event, to see former driver Ernie Irvan honored. Drivers scheduled to be on hand to sign autographs included Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Bobby Labonte, and Juan Pablo Montoya.
"Our NASCAR sponsorship enables us to host our annual Food City Family Race Night events," Tom Hembree, Food City svp, marketing said. "And there are so many race fans that don't get to go to the races. They're able to come down and see the drivers and cars and enjoy the atmosphere."
Abingdon, Va.-based K-VA-T Food Stores, Inc. d/b/a Food City has hosted the popular event since 1987. The company has contributed more than $500,000 in proceeds to area non-profits over that time and will do so again this year. Proceeds from this year's event will benefit the Birthplace of Country Music Alliance Cultural Heritage Center.