Curtain Falls on Sound and Speed

Sound and Speed

Since its inception, the event grew to become a ceremonial and highly anticipated kickoff to the upcoming NASCAR season each January for drivers and fans alike. (Photo: Getty Images)

Each January for the past five years, fans of NASCAR racing and country music descended upon downtown Nashville for a unique and increasingly popular event known as Sound & Speed, which featured performances, autograph and storytelling sessions, displays and other opportunities to get up-close-and-personal with their favorite racecar drivers and country music artists.

But the event’s board of directors and its charitable beneficiaries have announced that there will not be a sixth Sound & Speed in 2011 due to current economic conditions, as well as the lingering effects of last spring’s floods that devastated many residential neighborhoods in Nashville and the surrounding area.

“I can speak for NASCAR when I say that everyone involved was always anticipating Sound & Speed,” said NASCAR President and Sound & Speed board President Mike Helton. “It’s unfortunate that various economic conditions and, more importantly, the fact that much of middle Tennessee is still struggling to recover from the terrible flooding that occurred there last May, preclude us from staging another highly successful event. Therefore, it is with great regret that we share the news that Sound & Speed will no longer continue in 2011.”

Sound & Speed, which began in 2006 as the brainchild of the late Brian Williams, former Senior Vice President of SunTrust Bank, Inc., and popular Nashville artist manager Don Light, has raised more than $1 million to benefit both Victory Junction and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum during the past five years.

Since its inception, the event grew to become a ceremonial and highly anticipated kickoff to the upcoming NASCAR season each January for drivers and fans alike, as well as for the artists and fans of the country music industry who joined them for a unique celebration of motorsports and music. Heading the list of notable celebrities who have participated in Sound & Speed over the years are Taylor Swift, Alan Jackson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart.

“Being associated with Sound & Speed over the last five years has benefited us in many ways,” said Kyle Young, director of the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum. “We brought together two unique industries with an audience in common – NASCAR and country music – and delivered a one-of-a-kind event for fans. The event has been retired, but we feel that our new friendships in the world of NASCAR racing and in the country music artist community will continue to be mutually beneficial to all concerned.”

“Although the actual event is over, Sound & Speed will continue to live on through all of the (Victory Junction) campers and those involved with the event over the years,” added John McKee, Victory Junction President, and Mary Vaughn, Victory Junction Chief Operating Officer, in a joint statement. “Sound & Speed enabled Victory Junction to make many friends and brought many smiles to children’s faces each year.”

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