Paying tribute to America’s military has become a tradition each Memorial Day weekend as thousands of fans gather for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. In addition to honoring service members this year, Coca-Cola is recognizing the USO and the important role the organization plays in supporting U.S. troops around the globe. 

Coca-Cola has named John Falkenbury, United Service Organizations of North Carolina president and chief operating officer, the grand marshal for the 51st running of the Coca-Cola 600 (May 30, 6:15 p.m. on FOX).  Joining Falkenbury in delivering the most famous words in motorsports will be Megan Grady, USO of North Carolina Charlotte Center Director, as well as three recently reunited military families representing the Army, Marines and Air Force.

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Michael S. Foley; U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. James Dickens; U.S. Air Force Technical Sgt. Dustin Barnes and their respective families, will be special guests of Coca-Cola throughout race weekend and will help lead the fans in reciting the “Gentlemen, Start Your Engines” command.  Each service member recently was reunited with his family following an overseas deployment.

“Coca-Cola has a 120-year history of bringing families together – whether for special occasions or simple everyday moments – and the Coca-Cola 600 is a perfect opportunity to recognize the important work of the USO in bringing a touch of home to U.S. troops around the world,” said Beatriz Perez, chief marketing officer, Coca-Cola North America.

Tickets for Troops

Coca-Cola and North Carolina-based Coca-Cola Consolidated are partnering to provide 600 tickets to troops stationed at area bases. The companies have purchased the tickets through a program called  Let the Troops Race, which gives individuals and companies the chance to purchase tickets for just $20 to send a member of the U.S. armed forces to the Memorial Day Weekend race.

In addition, Charlotte Motor Speedway offers specially priced race tickets to all members of the U.S. armed forces who wish to purchase tickets directly. Military personnel can contact the ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS and supply a military identification number for specific details.


About the Coca-Cola 600

The Coca-Cola 600 is the longest continuous Sprint Cup sponsorship in NASCARâ. Coca-Cola is the Official Sparkling Beverage of NASCARâ and has been involved with stock car racing for more than 40 years. A signature part of Coca-Cola’s innovative NASCARâ program is the Coca-Cola Racing Family – a group of top drivers that includes Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Bobby Labonte, Joey Logano, Ryan Newman, David Ragan, Elliott Sadler, Tony Stewart, and alumni drivers Kyle Petty, Michael Waltrip, Dale Jarrett and Ned Jarrett.