Smith Trophy Honors Coke 600 Winners
The Bruton Smith Trophy is on display in the second-floor lobby of the track's Smith Tower. It features the familiar manganese sculpture, which has been awarded to each NEXTEL Cup Series race winner at Charlotte Motor Speedway since 1981, atop an oak base which bears two brass plagues inscribed with the name of each Coca-Cola 600 winner.
"This is quite an honor," Smith said when the trophy bearing his name was unveiled during a recent gathering of speedway employees. "We are extremely proud that the Coca-Cola 600 has grown into one of the world's most prestigious sporting events, and this trophy pays tribute to the 25 men who have won the race."
While building Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1960, it was Smith who decided to make the track's inaugural race a 600-mile event.
"Bigger is always better," Smith said about his concept of hosting a 600-mile stock car race. "I just thought it would be unique to run 600 miles. The extra 100 miles made it a bigger, more demanding event."
"The single most important thing I've learned from Bruton in the 30 years we've worked together is to do things in a big way," said H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway. "The Coca-Cola 600 is a testament to his way of thinking and it is only fitting we name the trophy in his honor."
The 2006 edition of the Coca-Cola 600 will be run Sunday evening, May 28. Tickets, starting at just $39, can be purchased online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-455-FANS.