Lyric Street Records country music artist Josh Gracin will help Kentucky Speedway open its eighth season by performing an exclusive May 12 concert prior to the start of the ARCA RE/MAX Series "Buckle Up Kentucky 150."

The native of Westland, Mich., and former United States Marine moved into the national spotlight while taking a fourth-place finish during the second season of FOX Television's popular "American Idol" competition. His self-titled debut collection capitalized on that career momentum by producing consecutive top-five hits including the No. 1 single "Nothin' to Lose" in addition to "Brass Bed" and "Peace of Mind." His second collection is set to debut this spring.

"We're certainly pleased that an artist of Josh's caliber will be part of our opening weekend," Kentucky Speedway Executive Vice President and General Manager Mark F. Cassis said. "The combination of ARCA RE/MAX Series action and the music of fan-favorite Josh Gracin will definitely open our new season on a high note."

His only area concert is included with the price of a race ticket. Speedway season ticket plans and single race tickets are on sale now. Season plans can be reserved by phone at 859-578-2300 or online at www.kentuckyspeedway.com. Single-race tickets range from $35 to $80 depending on event and seat location. Single-race tickets can be reserved online through the track's official Web site, by phone at 888-652-RACE (7223), through Kentucky Speedway ticket offices at 2216 Dixie Hwy., Suite 200, in Ft. Mitchell, Ky., and in the Sparta, Ky., Fan Center located off of Interstate 71 Exit 57 and Ky. Ste. Rte. 35 in addition to Tickets.com outlets including Meijer stores.

Gracin's debut release captured the world-class voice and performing magic that made him an "American Idol 2" favorite. The CD's energy draws directly from the fire Gracin displays while performing live. The stage is a place that has long felt like home to him since making his first public performance as an eighth grader.

"When I'm up on stage it's like a whole new world for me," Gracin said. "I love performing. I'm a firm believer that it's really great for a singer to have a good voice, but to bring it to another level you have to draw the audience in and make them part of the music, make them feel what you're feeling. I'm really looking forward to having fun with the great Kentucky Speedway fans in May."

The 2007 speedway season will span five weekends from May to August. In addition to the May 12 season opener, the track's first street stock event, the "Frank Kimmel Enduro Nationals," will be held May 26 and will be followed by the high-profile NASCAR Busch Series "Meijer 300 Presented by Oreo" weekend June 15-16. The track will play host to the ARCA RE/MAX Series "Channel 5 150" and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series "Built Ford Tough 225 Presented by the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers" July 13-14, and close the campaign with the first IndyCar and Indy Pro series twilight and night races in track history Aug. 10-11. The track also has created two new Fanfest events for 2007. The June 15 "Clear Channel Cincinnati Fanfest" and Aug. 10 "IndyCar Fanfest" will treat fans to driver autograph sessions in garage areas, free pit and infield access, live music and interactive displays.

Story by Mike Schmaltz

~ Kentucky Speedway ~