NASCAR fans, your culinary world is about to take a left turn.
Race day has long been known for epic tailgates of flaming grills filled with burgers, dogs and sausages, not to mention coolers of frosty beer. But Danica Patrick is about to throw a veggie burger on that fire.
This weekend, at the Bank of America 500, Patrick's Fit Fuel Menu will debut at a stand at Charlotte Motor Speedway. A variety of healthy options will be offered, including turkey burgers, veggie burgers, a chicken sandwich, chopped salad, fresh fruit and hummus with veggies.
Proper nutrition is important for Patrick and she says she wanted to give people the healthier option "so fans can make smart choices about what they eat when they're enjoying the races."
But is this something race fans have been asking for?
Chef Phil Bucco, who oversees the culinary team for Levy Restaurants at Charlotte Motor Speedway and partnered with Patrick and her team to develop the menu, says yes.
"There are a lot of fans in Charlotte looking for more fit items," Bucco says, "and we always want to bring a great variety of options to our guests. We think the stand will be a big hit."
It certainly will be unique, especially among racing venues. Where else can fans get a salad that includes a mix of Romaine lettuce, spinach, broccoli florets, red onion, cucumber, asparagus, Kalamata olives, grape tomatoes, garbanzo beans and julienne carrots, served with a house-made
red wine vinaigrette?
And if your idea of a fruit cup is that plastic-covered, syrupy mess from the high school cafeteria, think again. The Fit Fuel Menu version will contain season fruit such as watermelon, mango, strawberries, honeydew, cantaloupe and pineapple, served Mexican-style with a lime wedge and chili lime salt.
Danica Patrick won't be on hand for the healthy food roll out this weekend in Charlotte. She's finishing up her race schedule on the IndyCar Series in Las Vegas this Sunday. But there will be plenty of time for her to sample the new menu, because the Fit Fuel stand is not going to be just a stand-in.
"These new options are here to stay at Charlotte Motor Speedway and fans will have the opportunity to enjoy them throughout the racing season," Bucco says. "Stay tuned, as this may grow into other racing venues."
You hear that, Talladega? There's a veggie burger with your name on it.
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