Wednesday, May 25, 2011

More Race Week celebrity appearances

We've gotten info on all kinds of Race Week-related activities taking place over the next few days. Here are three noteworthy happenings that caught our eyes:

1. As part of Food Lion Speed Street, Matt Kenseth and his No. 17 Jeremiah Weed Ford will make an appearance at the festival at 4:30 p.m. Friday ... but the Sprint Cup Series Champion won't be using horsepower to get around. Instead, strongman Rendy DeLaCruz will attempt to pull Kenseth -- who will be sitting behind the wheel of his car -- 100 feet in 60 seconds or less. For every foot DeLaCruz successfully pulls the 3,500-pound stock car, Jeremiah Weed will distribute up to 500 $10 taxi vouchers redeemable throughout the weekend with Charlotte's Crown Cab (the idea being the company will get 21-and-older fans who are making a party out of the race home safely). Comedian Adam Carolla will emcee Friday's stock-car pull, which will begin midway between Stonewall Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and end at the corners of MLK and Brevard Street.

2. Race fans can meet Robby Gordon -- regarded as one of the best road course drivers in NASCAR -- and get a glimpse of what it's like to be a driver or a pit crew member from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday at the center court in Gastonia's Westfield Eastridge mall. The "Rev It Up" event will feature Gordon (who will bring his car, sign autographs and greet fans at about 4 p.m.), as well as NASCAR's development team from Revolution Racing, the stars of BET's "Changing Lanes." Meanwhile, kids and adults can get behind the wheel of a racing simulator or try the Pit Stop Challenge, loosening lugnuts with a spring-loaded air gun that's identical to what NASCAR teams use. Many of the mall's retailers will offer discounts during the event, up to $50 or 50 percent off. The first 100 customers who spend $150 at the mall will also receive a $10 Westfield Gift Card.

3. Grammy Award-winning artist Darius Rucker will perform the national anthem for the 52nd running of the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Born in Charleston, S.C., Rucker first gained fame as the lead singer and rhythm guitarist of the band Hootie & the Blowfish, which he founded in 1986 at the University of South Carolina. Hootie & the Blowfish received the Best New Artist award at the 1996 Grammy Awards. In 2008, Rucker announced that he would pursue a solo career as a country music performer; he received the Top New Artist title from the Country Music Association Awards in 2009. Tickets for Sunday's race can be purchased at or by calling 1-800-455-FANS (3267).