Kentucky Speedway will become "Soul Patrol!" central July 14 when American Idol fifth-season champion and Arista recording artist Taylor Hicks entertains race fans with an exclusive concert before the green-flag start of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series "Built Ford Tough 225 Presented by the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers." The soulful artist also will perform the National Anthem live on SPEED Channel. Hicks' self-titled album debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard top 200 album chart following its Dec. 12, 2006 release. The powerful lead single, "Just To Feel That Way" was just released to radio. The critically-acclaimed collection features "Dream Myself Awake," written by Rob Thomas, along with "Give Me Tonight," which Hicks and two-time Grammy Award-winner Matt Serletic co-wrote with Kevin Kadish and hit songwriter Kara Dioguardi. Hitmaker supreme Diane Warren added "Places I've Been" to a list of unique tracks that includes "The Maze," "The Runaround," "The Right Place" and "Dream Myself Awake." Hicks also included his self-penned hits "Soul Thing" and "The Deal" which previously appeared on his second indie album titled "Under the Radar" that helped him gain his strong "Soul Patrol!" following in his native Birmingham, Ala. Tickets for Hicks' only scheduled area appearance and the eighth NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series weekend in Kentucky Speedway history are available through the tickets pages of this Web site, by phone at 888-652-RACE (7223), through speedway ticket offices at 2216 Dixie Hwy., Ste. 200, in Ft. Mitchell, Ky., and the Sparta, Ky., Fan Center as well as Greater Cincinnati Meijer stores. "I've grown up on NASCAR, so performing at the beautiful Kentucky Speedway will be an honor for me. I'm happy to go out and perform for new fans and support the great NASCAR legacy," Hicks said. "I'm also looking forward to being there in person to watch those trucks battle it out on the speedway." Hicks embarked on his first headlining tour yesterday in Jacksonville, Fla., at the Florida Theater. A list of current dates follows. "Our region is one of the strongest American Idol markets in the country so we know our fans will embrace the opportunity to welcome Taylor to our NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event for his only area appearance of the summer," Kentucky Speedway General Manager Mark. F. Cassis said. "Taylor will add an exciting element to what is sure to be a fun-filled and competitive 'Built Ford Tough 225 Presented by the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers' weekend." More than 36 million television viewers witnessed the May 24, 2006 finale of FOX's American Idol and many joined the nation's "Soul Patrol!" legions in casting the 63.4 million votes that propelled Hicks to the coveted win and instant national prominence. He rewarded his fans with an album that digs deep into the blues-drenched Alabama roots he holds dear while reaffirming the eternal power of pop, soul and R&B by displaying his versatility throughout. A "Vibe" magazine multi-page feature raved, "Taylor Hicks is the embodiment of the last 50 years of popular music." Along with Hicks' heroes, Otis Redding, James Brown, and Sam Cooke, the memory of Ray Charles is always centerstage on the new collection and can be heard on "Heaven Knows," whose riffs pays homage to Charles' "What'd I Say" and Marvin Gaye's "Ain't That Peculiar," the Motown classic written by Smokey Robinson. Another track, "Gonna Move," comes from yet another Hicks' personal favorite, revered singer-songwriter Paul Pena. The song complements Taylor's take on Marvin Gaye's classic, "Wherever I Lay My Hat." The story of Hicks' evolving career, which began in his youth when he honed his harmonica skills and continued when he released his first independent CD in 1995 while a student at Auburn University, will be told in a Crown Publishers book entitled "Heart Full of Soul" which is set for release on July 10, 2007. In its pages, Hicks will extract lessons from the decades-long odyssey that led him to the "American Idol" stage following years spent on the road, grappling with life and career decisions that, even as they've tested him, have disclosed valuable takeaways for anyone striving against long odds. The upcoming memoir will also detail Taylor's life changing twist of fate that came in New Orleans, at the wedding of an Auburn friend, the night before Hurricane Katrina hit on the fateful day of August 29, 2005. With his out-of-town flight cancelled, he was given a free airline voucher. Earlier that summer, Hicks had considered auditioning for "American Idol" in Memphis, Tenn., but auditions were subsequently cancelled there as the city became one of the centers of the Katrina relief effort. Throughout the summer and fall, however, auditions proceeded in eight cities across the country, and Hicks used his voucher to take the first steps up the steep "American Idol" ladder by traveling to auditions in Las Vegas. Taylor Hicks Tour Dates: Feb. 21 - Jacksonville, Fla. - Florida Theater Feb. 22 - Tampa, Fla. - Tampa Theater Feb. 23 - Coral Springs, Fla. - Coral Springs Center for the Arts Feb. 24 - Orlando, Fla. - Universal Studios Feb. 27 - Mobile, Ala. - Mobile Civic Center March 2 - Myrtle Beach, S.C. - House of Blues March 3 - Knoxville, Tenn. - Tennessee Theatre March 4 - Asheville, N.C. - The Orange Peel March 6 - Hunstville, Ala. - Von Braun Center March 9 - Atlanta, Ga. - Tabernacle March 10 - Birmingham, Ala. - Alabama Theatre March 25 - Minneapolis, Minn. - Mystic Lake Casino March 27 - Green Bay, Wis. - Weidner Center March 28 - Milwaukee, Wis - The Pabst Theater March 29 - Chicago, Ill. - House of Blues March 31 - Cleveland, Ohio - House of Blues April 3 - Boston, Mass. - Avalon April 6 - New Haven, Conn. - Foxwoods Casino April 7 - Westbury, N.Y. - North Fork Theatre April 12 - Lancaster, Pa. - American Musical Theater April 17 - Baltimore, Md. - Rams Head Live April 24 - Columbus, Ohio - The LC Pavillion April 27 - Kansas City, Mo. - Ameristar

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