Senator Elizabeth Dole has been named honorary race director for the May 25 Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Coca-Cola and speedway officials also announced that Richard Thompson, speaker of the West Virginia House of Delegates, will serve as the honorary starter, waving the green flag to send the 43 drivers on their 600-mile journey.

In her role as honorary race director, Dole will attend the pre-race drivers' meeting, preside over pre-race ceremonies and visit the control tower during the race.

A native of nearby Salisbury, N.C., Dole has served five United States Presidents and was elected in 2002 to serve the people of North Carolina in the U.S. Senate.

From 1969 to 1973, Dole served as deputy assistant to President Nixon for Consumer Affairs. Her resumé also includes six years as a member of the Federal Trade Commission and two years as assistant to President Reagan for Public Liaison.

In February 1983, Dole joined President Reagan's Cabinet as Secretary of Transportation-the first woman to hold that position. As the Transportation Secretary, she was the first woman to serve as the departmental head of a branch of the military, the U.S. Coast Guard.

Dole was sworn in by President Bush as the nation's 20th Secretary of Labor in January 1989. She left President Bush's Cabinet in 1991 to become president of the American Red Cross and served in that position until 1999. Dole then sought the Republican presidential nomination, becoming the first viable woman candidate from a major political party.

After being discharged from the military, Thompson earned a criminal justice degree from Marshall University. He then graduated with honors from the West Virginia University College of Law and returned home to Lavalette, W.Va., to establish his practice.

During his 28 years as an attorney, Thompson has served his community in numerous capacities and has developed a broad and varied legal background.

Thompson was first elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1980 and served a two-year term. He returned to the house in 2000 and was re-elected in 2002, 2004 and 2006. Last year, Thompson was elected speaker by members of the House of Delegates, assuming a position second in the line of succession to the Governor of West Virginia.

He is a founder and board member of Mainstream Services, which provides services for mentally handicapped adults, and is also an active supporter of the Lavalette Little League.

Tickets for the May 25 Coca-Cola 600 start at just $39 and can be purchased by visiting purchasing online or calling the Charlotte Motor Speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS.