For decades, Charlotte Motor Speedway has paid tribute to the U.S. Armed Forces each Memorial Day Weekend with a captivating pre-race show before the drop of the green flag for the Coca-Cola 600. On May 24, the 56th running of the ultimate test of man and machine will host one of the biggest military appreciation pre-race spectaculars in the track's history.

The action-packed show will include ground exercises with troops from Fort Bragg featuring Humvees, Howitzers, a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System and more. Rope teams from Fort Campbell will descend from Black Hawk helicopters. Other elements include a 21-gun salute from the Fort Bragg Firing Squad, a vintage war bird air parade and sky-diving members of Team Fastrax descending to the infield with Old Glory flying behind.

"The Salute the Troops portion of our pre-race show gives us a chance to say thank you to those who have served or continue to serve our country and protect our freedom," said Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway. "It's a tradition our fans look forward to every year; seeing military demonstrations at live speed and the firepower is always impressive. We are always proud to work with our area military bases to bring this show to the fans."

Fans will be able to salute the troops when 600 soldiers from Fort Bragg walk through the grandstands to the infield and during a pace lap with buses carrying hundreds of troops from the Charlotte Motor Speedway Patriot Partners program. Medal of Honor recipients Bob Patterson (Vietnam), James Taylor (Vietnam) and Walter Joseph Marm (Vietnam) will also be recognized on the pre-race stage. 

Several musical performances will highlight the Coca-Cola 600 pre-race show including a 45-minute concert with Rock and Roll Hall-of-Famers ZZ Top, "God Bless the USA" performed by Lee Greenwood, a rendition of "Amazing Grace" by the Charlotte Fire Department Pipe Band and "Taps" played by a Fort Bragg bugler. There will also be an Armed Forces Medley featuring the 100-member Central Church of God Chorus Group.

Closing out the pre-race festivities is the 82nd Airborne Chorus singing the "The Star Spangled Banner." During that time, soldiers from Fort Bragg will hold a football field-sized American Flag and four F-18s will fly over the legendary 1.5-mile superspeedway.

The only 600-mile race on the NASCAR schedule, the Coca-Cola 600 tests the endurance of both drivers and equipment and provides fans more entertainment value than any other sporting event in America.

Great seats are still available for the Coca-Cola 600 and all rest of the 10 Days of NASCAR Thunder, with weekend passes starting at just $99. To purchase tickets, camping and race-day upgrades, fans should call the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or shop online on our website.

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