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Carrollton Chamber’s RaceFest
returns for fifth year

Driver Danica Patrick to appear at local ‘Fan Fest’

CARROLLTON, Ky. (July 2016) – Danica Patrick is a natural draw wherever she goes. Not only will her No. 10 car be on display in Carrollton, Ky., for RaceFest, Patrick herself will appear at the Carrollton Kroger the following day for FanFest.
Born in Beloit, Wisc., Patrick has earned the reputation of being the most successful woman in the history of American open-wheel racing. In addition to professional stock car racing, she is a model and advertising spokeswoman.
Her win in the 2008 Indy Japan 300 is the only women’s victory in an IndyCar Series race. Patrick’s third place position in the 2009 Indianapolis 500 was the highest finish there ever by a woman.

Photo provided

RaceFest adds to the excitement of NASCAR race week.

She was named the Rookie of the Year for both the 2005 Indianapolis 500 and the 2005 IndyCar Series season. During her time in IndyCar, Patrick drove for Rahal Letterman Racing from 2005 to 2006, and Andretti Autosport from 2007 to 2011.
In 2012, Patrick competed in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and occasionally in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Since the 2013 season, she has driven the No. 10 Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing in the Sprint Cup Series.
Patrick is sure to be a big draw for FanFest and her car for racing fans who attend RaceFest on Wednesday, July 6, just one day before the three-day triple-header of NASCAR racing at the nearby Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. The fifth annual RaceFest will take place in downtown Carrollton from 6-10 p.m.
“RaceFest is an invitation to all our guests staying in Carrollton for the NASCAR race,” said Misty Wheeler, executive director of Carrollton-Carroll County Tourism. “We want to give everyone a little taste of our hometown hospitality.”
She said tourism officials thought a Wednesday night event in downtown Carrollton “might be a way to welcome all the NASCAR fans and give them an opportunity to get ready for the big racing weekend. We welcome everyone; locals and out of town guests to RaceFest.”
The event will include activities for all ages, including a pie eating contest, a classic car cruise-in with members of the Kentucky Kruizers, Madison Corvette Club and Derby City Mustangs, a motorcycle show by KBA-KMA, a zorb track for adults, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Coca Cola Simulator for children, the 2016 Quaker 400 Pace car, the Oscar Meyer Weiner Mobile, corn hole tournament, inflatables and giveaways.
“People enjoy the bands, the cars, the door prizes, the vendors, the contests. Who doesn’t love eating as much pie as they can in a minute? The pie eating contest is almost as fun to watch as it is to compete,” said Wheeler. 
RaceFest is sponsored by the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, which invests revenue into the event to support the community.
“The chamber exists to be a supportive arm for our local businesses,” said former Chamber president and current RaceFest committee member Mark Smith. “So first and foremost the chamber puts these events together to promote our local businesses and community.”
He continued, saying, “When we can tie that in with a fun family event, it’s a win-win for all. We are thrilled that the county through the parks and rec program headlines this event for us.”
Local businesses participate in RaceFest as well. Wheeler said that many of the local store owners are “generous throughout the year and support our community. RaceFest is another opportunity to do so.”
Smith agreed that “local businesses participate in a couple of different ways. Some will have booths set up with information and giveaways and others support the event by giving away tickets or product items. We will have many items given away every hour.”
Several downtown businesses will have extended hours on July 6. “Kroger and Wal-Mart are a lot of help with RaceFest and we appreciate it,” Wheeler said.
Kroger has designated more than 50,000 square feet of parking lot space just for this annual event, which has steadily grown in popularity. John Royse, general manager of the Carrollton Kroger, said additional events will take place at Kroger from 3-7 p.m. for Fan Fest the day following RaceFest.
Patrick will be at Kroger that morning from 10 a.m. to noon to participate in the Race for the Hunger for Carroll County. “Kroger is donating $1,000 to the Carroll County Food Pantry,” said Royse. Patrick will race the aisles filling a shopping cart for those in need.
Royse said this is his fourth year participating in RaceFest as the emcee. “It’s a lot of fun. It’s a great local event.”
He said it takes “a lot of local folks to help with this event; many locals help put it on. RaceFest is a great opportunity for out of town folks to experience our community and plan a return visit. Our local Tourism office does a phenomenal job in getting that word out,” Smith said.
Last year, raffles were given away every 10 minutes. One of the best prizes given away was the pair of race tickets for the weekend Quaker State 400 race.
“Most compliments we receive about the event surround the fact that it is a family fun event,” said Smith. “We truly have something for all ages and interests.”

• For more information, visit www.CarrollCountyRaceFest.com.

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