With the entry deadline quickly approaching, New Hampshire Motor Speedway officials announced today the judging panel for the fifth annual Speedway Star singing competition. A total of 10 contestants will be chosen and invited to take the stage inside the Mall of New Hampshire on Saturday, April 26 in front of local personalities and industry professionals, who will serve as judges for the event.

This year's judging lineup includes the return of Karen Kiley of "The Morning Waking Crew" radio show on WOKQ, which she co-hosts with Mark Ericsson, who will once again serve as the Speedway Star emcee. Legendary NASCAR pit reporter Dick Berggren, who also serves as president of the future Northeast Motorsports Museum to be built on New Hampshire Motor Speedway grounds, also returns as a judge.

The newest judge will be Cliff Blake of Northeast/Midwest Regional Promotion Republic Nashville. Blake works with popular country music groups such as Florida Georgia Line, The Eli Young Band, Cassadee Pope and The Band Perry, which opened up the American Country Music Awards show on April 6.

"I can't wait to hear the ten best singers chosen for this years' competition," said Blake, who has also been an active announcer and volunteer with New Hampshire Public Television for the past 24 years. "What an honor for the best-of-the-best singer to get to sing the National Anthem at an upcoming NASCAR race."

Speedway officials will accept entries for the fifth annual singing contest until Friday, April 11 at 5 p.m. Prospective contestants are asked to submit a DVD, CD, .wav file or .mp3 file of them singing "The Star Spangled Banner" a cappella style (without music or other accompaniments).

Last year, Whitney Doucet dazzled judges and spectators at the Mall of New Hampshire in Manchester. The 23-year-old native of Fitchburg, Mass., stood out from a cast of talented contestants to win the Speedway Star competition, and few months later was standing in front of enthusiastic NASCAR fans, singing the national anthem before the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

"The Speedway Star competition was a great time," said Doucet. "To have the opportunity to sing in front of NASCAR fans, which are the most fun people to sing for, was such an amazing experience. If there were ever another opportunity for me to sing the national anthem at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway I would do it again in a heartbeat."

Contestants will be competing for two spots to sing in front of thousands of fans at a NASCAR sanctioned event in July and September.

For more information and for rules and regulations or for an official entry form click on the following link www.nhms.com/speedwaystar.

View the official rules and regulations.

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The 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at New Hampshire Motor Speedway is right around the corner. Purchase your tickets for the Camping World RV Sales 301 on July 13 or the SYLVANIA 300 on Sept. 21 by calling the track's ticket hotline at (603) 783-4931 or by visiting www.nhms.com.