When NASCAR teams and drivers come home to race in Charlotte after five months on the road, Charlotte Motor Speedway will celebrate homecoming - NASCAR style - at the NASCAR Banking 500 only from Bank of America on Oct. 17. As part of the celebration, speedway officials named seven-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Richard Petty the Homecoming King for the fifth race of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

A five-time winner at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Petty was crowned today by Speedway Motorsports Chairman O. Bruton Smith with his own signature crown - a one-of-a-kind cowboy hat custom made by Charlie 1 Horse Hat Company of Garland, Texas. Three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson and fans from the Charlotte Motor Speedway Victory Lane Club were on hand for the ceremonial press conference.

The black cowboy hat was especially designed for Petty with colors from the NASCAR Banking 500 logo detailed in blue and white suede and red snakeskin. The hat also features black and white feathers, raccoon tail and bones, feather quills and beads. All of the pieces were hand cut from raw materials.

"As we continue to celebrate our 50 years of history at Charlotte Motor Speedway, it's a natural fit that we've selected a member of racing royalty, Richard Petty, to be our Homecoming King at the NASCAR Banking 500," said Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway.

"A traditional crown just wouldn't work for this ‘King,' so we gave him something more his style."

A homecoming celebration isn't complete without a Homecoming Queen, and Charlotte Motor Speedway has partnered with WKKT FM, 96.9 The Kat, to choose one lucky fan to hold the title for the NASCAR Banking 500. Five finalists will receive a pair of tickets to the race, and the grand prize winner will receive a VIP package and participate in pre-race ceremonies. Women are invited to log onto Charlotte Motor Speedway's Web site for information on how to register for the contest.

"Richard has been a fan favorite as a driver and owner at Charlotte Motor Speedway since the very first World 600 in 1960, and through our Fans First program, we're going to give one lucky lady the thrill of a lifetime to be introduced as our Homecoming Queen at the race along with the ‘King,'" said Marcus.

Tickets to the Oct. 17 NASCAR Banking 500 only from Bank of America start at just $39.75 per person with the CVS Friends and Family Four Pack, which includes four tickets, four hot dogs, four Coca-Cola soft drinks and a coupon for a free two-liter Coke Zero. Four-packs or individual tickets can be obtained by calling 1-800-455-FANS or online.