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Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Juan Pablo Montoya latest to join SunTrust lineup
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., recently voted NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver for the fifth year in a row, and Juan Pablo Montoya, winner of the Indianapolis 500, Formula 1’s Monaco Grand Prix and the 2007 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year title, have joined an all-star cast of drivers, team owners and country music artists participating in next month’s third-annual Sprint Sound & Speed Presented by SunTrust, the unique, interactive fan festival at Nashville’s Sommet Center featuring Grammy-winning and multi-platinum-selling recording artist Alan Jackson and special guest Taylor Swift, with Jason Michael Carroll, and a newly announced performance by The Wrights in concert.

The Sprint Sound & Speed Presented by SunTrust will once again bring together the stars of country music and NASCAR for autographs, storytelling and question-answer sessions with their favorite performers and drivers at The Backstage Garage Pass festival from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 12, followed by the blockbuster Country Concert event headlined by Jackson at 8 p.m.

Earnhardt and Montoya are among four NASCAR celebrities and three country music artists announced today as newly added participants in the Sprint Sound & Speed Presented by SunTrust extravaganza. Earnhardt is the 2004 Daytona 500 winner and two-time NASCAR Nationwide (formerly Busch) Series champion who will take over the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet in the Sprint (formerly Nextel) Cup  Series in 2008. Montoya, whose Cup Series rookie season included a race victory at Sonoma, Calif., will embark on his second season behind the wheel of the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Dodge in 2008.

Also just added to the festival lineup is Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 07 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet who scored his first career Cup Series victory in his first race as a championship Chase contender at New Hampshire in September, and Scott Wimmer, Richard Childress Racing driver in both the Cup and Nationwide Series.

New to next month’s lineup of country stars is Josh Gracin, the former American Idol contestant who is one of only three country artists in recent times to release a debut album with three top-five hits, including the No. 1 hit “Nothin’ to Lose,” Bryan White, platinum recording artist who burst into the country music scene in the mid-90s with a string of four No. 1 singles, including “Someone Else’s Star” and “Rebecca Lynn,” and The Wrights, whose 2005 debut album, Down This Road, captured the attention of the industry and spring-boarded the husband-and-wife team into touring dates with Jackson and appearances on the Grand Ole Opry.

The Wrights will give an opening performance at the Saturday-evening Sprint Sound & Speed Presented by SunTrust Country Concert, headlined by Alan Jackson and special guest Taylor Swift, with Jason Michael Carroll. Along with Gracin and White, The Wrights will also join fellow country artists and NASCAR celebrities in The Backstage Garage Pass festival earlier that day, which also offers fans a charitable auction featuring memorabilia from the racing and entertainment industries, as well as show car and sponsor displays.

Tickets for the 2008 Sprint Sound & Speed Presented by SunTrust are available through TicketMaster (www.ticketmaster.com) and the event website (www.soundandspeed.org). They are $39.50 for the concert, $20 for the Backstage Garage Pass event, or $54.50 for both. Once again, proceeds benefit the Victory Junction Gang Camp, and the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum.

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