Miss America 2008 Kirsten Haglund will be the grand marshal of the IndyCar Series "Meijer Indy 300 Presented by Pepsi and Edy's" at Kentucky Speedway Aug. 9.

The 19-year-old from Farmington Hills, Mich., is studying at the prestigious Univ. of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music and will sing The Star-Spangled Banner on race day. The talented vocalist will pursue a career in musical theater upon completion of her academic program.

As Miss America, Haglund will serve as the National Goodwill Ambassador for the Children's Miracle Network and work with social initiatives that raise awareness of eating disorders.

"I am thrilled to be a part of the Meijer Indy 300 this year at Kentucky Speedway. I will love being with sports enthusiasts and sharing in the excitement of this race. It is an honor to be a part of it and performing in front of an amazing crowd will be one of the most exciting moments that I'll get to enjoy this year," she stated.

The fifth and final 2008 Kentucky Speedway race weekend will feature amazing, high-speed Firestone Indy Lights and IndyCar Series action. The weekend opens with IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights Fanfest Aug. 8. The day begins when gates open at 3:00 p.m., and will include practice and qualifying sessions before closing with a garage-area autograph session with the full field of IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights international driving stars.

Action continues Aug. 9 with an IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights primetime doubleheader on the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway tri-oval. Gates open at 2:00 p.m. Firestone Indy Lights practice begins at 2:30 p.m., and will be followed by an exclusive prerace concert with indie artist Josh Kelley on the Turn 1 Concourse at 4:30 p.m.

Sure-to-be-action-packed open-wheel racing begins at 6:30 p.m., with the "Meijer Indy 300 Presented by Pepsi and Edy's." The Firestone Indy Lights "Kentucky 100" will take the green flag at 9:15 p.m.

Tickets for both events are on sale now and can be reserved online through the tickets pages of this Web site, by phone at 888-652-RACE (7223), through any Meijer store and by visiting the Kentucky Speedway ticket offices at 400 Buttermilk Pike, Suite 100, in Ft. Mitchell, Ky., next to the Montgomery Inn Restaurant or the Sparta, Ky., Fan Center located off of Interstate 71 Exit 57 and Ky. Hwy. 35 N.

Story by Mike Schmaltz

~ Kentucky Speedway ~