Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen has been named grand marshal for the May 27 Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

Coca-Cola and speedway officials also announced that Senator and Republican presidential candidate John McCain will serve as the honorary starter, waving the green flag to send the 43 drivers on their 600-mile journey.

In his role as grand marshal, Bredesen will preside over pre-race ceremonies and give the command, "gentlemen, start your engines."

Now in his second term as governor, Bredesen is focused on raising high school and college graduation rates, boosting the economies of Tennessee's smaller and mid-sized communities, strengthening public education and promoting access to health care and healthier lifestyles for all state residents.

Prior to being elected governor, Bredesen served as mayor of Nashville, working with community leaders to chart a course that made Music City USA one of the best places in America to live, work and raise a family.

The son and grandson of distinguished Navy admirals, McCain attended the United States Naval Academy, embarking on a 22-year career as a naval aviator. His naval honors include the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

After retiring from the Navy in 1981, and looking for another way to serve his country, McCain ran for public office. First elected to the U.S.

House of Representatives from Arizona in 1982, he has led the fight for reforming Washington, eliminating wasteful government spending, and strengthening our nation's armed forces.

In 1986, after serving two terms in the U.S. House, McCain was elected to the United States Senate. In the Senate, he continued to demand that Congress put an end to loopholes for special interests and fix the broken system in Washington that too often allows lobbyists to write legislation and members of Congress to waste taxpayer money. In November 2004, McCain was overwhelmingly re-elected with nearly 77 percent of the vote.

Tickets for the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday evening, May 27, start at $39 and can be obtained online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com or by contacting the Lowe's Motor Speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS.