Curb Records recording artist Billy Dean will sing the national anthem prior to the start of the Dodge Charger 500 on May 13 at Darlington Raceway. He will also perform an acoustic pre-race concert on the main stage at approximately 5:30 p.m.
Dean, a Florida native, received a basketball scholarship to attend East Central Junior College in Decatur, MS, where he majored in physical education, but instead of wearing a whistle around his neck, he opted for a guitar strap. Inspired by Merle Haggard, Marty Robbins, and Dean Martin, he played the club circuit along the Gulf Coast in Florida and used national talent contests as a vehicle for his music. He made the finals of the Wrangler Country Star Search in 1982, then won as a male vocalist champ on Ed McMahon's Star Search in 1988 - the original American Idol, in a manner of speaking!
Dean released his debut album in 1990 with the hits "Only Here for a Little While" and the Grammy-nominated "Somewhere in My Broken Heart." His other hits include "Billy the Kid," "If There Hadn't Been You" and "We Just Disagree." Three of his albums were certified gold, and his self-titled 1991 effort earned platinum status. He also won two CMA awards for his participation in Common Thread: The Songs of the Eagles.
In 2004, Dean climbed back onto the country charts with "Thank God I'm a Country Boy." He released the album Let Them Be Little in 2005, with the title track reaching the Top 10.
The Dodge Charger 500 weekend includes final practice and qualifying for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series on Friday, May 12, followed by the Diamond Hill Plywood 200 that evening. Matt Kenseth won the event in 2005.
On Saturday, May 13, Darlington Raceway will host Cup Series racing for the 57th consecutive year. The Dodge Charger 500 will be run under the lights in its entirety. Greg Biffle is the defending champion.
For tickets or more information, call the Raceway ticket hotline toll-free at 866.459.RACE (7223), or visit www.racetickets.com.