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Make Memories at the 50th Running of the Coca-Cola 600
Charlotte Motor Speedway officials are extending an invitation to race fans around the world to attend the 50th running of the Coca-Cola 600 on May 24 and make new memories at the legendary 1.5-mile superspeedway.
Since the first 600-mile race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on June 19, 1960, millions of race fans have enjoyed events at the track and created
"For five decades Charlotte Motor Speedway has been known for its history, innovations and making memories, and our fans are the central element to our success," said Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway. "Last November we asked our ticket holders to share with us their favorite Charlotte Motor Speedway experiences and we were overwhelmed by their emotional responses.
"We're going to do everything we can to ensure they enjoy making many more memories with us as we celebrate the 50th Coca-Cola 600 on May 24."
The Charlotte Motor Speedway ticket office received more than 1,000 responses from fans who wanted to share their favorite memories from the speedway. Many of those submissions will be posted on the Coca-Cola 600 Web site, www.Coke600.com in the coming weeks. In addition, fans visiting the site can add their own experiences.
Below is a sampling of the e-mails that were sent to the ticket office. They have been edited for length.
Glenn Harris, Wendell, N.C. (ticket holder since 1969) - "I believe my first race at your track was in 1969 with my father. We've sat in the same place in the Chrysler grandstand ever since. David Pearson was my favorite driver back then and I remember that candy apple red No. 21 Wood Brothers Mercury sitting on the pole for years in the 1970s. Another big memory was the 1987 Winston All-Star race when I brought my 5-year-old son to his first race and we saw Dale Earnhardt's "Pass in the Grass." I've attended every All-Star race in Charlotte and I've only missed one Cup race since my first in 1969. Charlotte Motor Speedway is my favorite track and I can't wait for May!"
Don Buddo, Ontario (ticket holder since 1973) - "I first visited Charlotte Motor Speedway for the fall race in 1973 with my late father. Since then, my wife Karen and I have made the 800-mile journey
36 times, including every points race since 1993. In the early years it was quite an adventure just to get there, and sometimes still is. Even though there are several tracks closer to us, we've always considered Lowe's our home track. No other track we've visited has gone to the extremes you have to accommodate the average paying race fan. The 1980 Coca-Cola 600 was one to remember. After the second rain delay, we watched the last few laps from the backstretch stands with a handful of other diehards. We and that handful of folks were the only ones that clearly saw Benny Parsons pass Darrell Waltrip with a couple laps to go after dueling all day. How Benny ever made the pass with such a low line entering the third turn remains a mystery to us as does Dale Earnhardt's pass on Mark Martin in the 1993 Winston All-Star race."
Steve Quesinberry, Virginia (attended first LMS race in 1965) - "My first visit to Charlotte Motor Speedway was in May 1965. It was my first visit to a major race track. To a young 13-year-old boy this was Christmas in May. I watched Fred Lorenzen race Earl Balmer all day long. It was the greatest race I have ever seen. I have since paid to see over 300 Cup, Nationwide and Truck races, but seeing that No. 28 car win the 1965 World 600 is still No. 1 to me. Because of that day in 1965, my son and now even my grandson are going to watch the 2009 Coca-Cola 600 with me. I will always be grateful for every visit I have made to Charlotte Motor Speedway."
Ellen Voell, New Jersey (ticket holder since 2006) - "The first race we attended was the May 2006 Coca-Cola 600. I am a single mom with two young boys. They had been asking me to take them to a race, so I did some research on the various tracks and decided on Charlotte Motor Speedway. There was so much to offer the kids there. Downtown Charlotte had Speed Street and our hotel offered bus transportation to and from the track.
It was all about family and convenience and that appealed to me. When we got to the track we were overwhelmed by how big it was. It was so impressive to pull up and see this massive structure. We went to our seats and watched the opening festivities. It was a show within the race - an added bonus. The racing was exciting and kept us in our seats the whole time. We enjoyed it so much that we have gone back every year since."
Michael Kehr, Concord, N.C. (ticket holder since 1996) - "My first race ever was the 1996 Winston that Michael Waltrip won in his Wood Brothers Ford Thunderbird. My father and I enjoyed it so much that we made a pact to come back year after year. We came all the way from Baltimore, Md., on a bus with other race fans. The only year I have missed was in 2005 when my father lost his battle with cancer. Before he passed, he asked if I would keep the tradition going after he was no longer here and I promised him I would. The next year my wife and I moved down to Concord and I became a season ticket holder for the Coca-Cola 600 and the Bank of America 500. I have not missed a race since and plan to pass this tradition on to any children my wife and I are lucky to have. Every time I enter the gates of your esteemed facility, I get a tear in my eye thinking of my father, but I now enjoy the races with my wife."
Linda Cutone (ticket holder since 2006) - "In 2006 my husband and I decided to bring our family to Charlotte Motor Speedway. We'd watched NASCAR on TV and had gone to New Hampshire Motor Speedway, but I kept thinking we needed to go to the heart of NASCAR. So, we packed up our truck and the kids and headed South for the Coca-Cola 600. We instantly fell in love with everyone. What I found so wonderful was the access to pit road. I will never forget how easy it was to talk with the crew members and how they would answer questions. I cannot say enough about the hospitality that LMS provides. We have made this our annual family vacation - no Disney for us!"
Tickets to the 50th running of the Coca-Cola 600 on May 24 start at just $49 and can be purchased online or by calling 1-800-455-FANS.