War Hero, Public Officials to Kick Off 2014 Coca-Cola 600, Nation's Largest Memorial Weekend Celebration
A United States Congresswoman, the North Carolina Senate Leader and a military hero will lead race fans in the commencement of the nation's largest Memorial Weekend celebration as they serve as race officials for the 2014 Coca-Cola 600. Master Sergeant Cedric King will be the Grand Marshal, United States Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito will be the Honorary Starter and North Carolina Senate Leader Phil Berger will serve as the Honorary Race Director for the 55th running of NASCAR's only 600-mile race at the famed Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday, May 25.
"It is our pleasure to welcome these distinguished leaders, as well as a military hero to the 2014 Coca-Cola 600," said Lauren C. Steele, senior vice president, corporate affairs, Coca-Cola Consolidated. "It is exciting to have these leaders recognize America's servicemen and women at the largest Memorial Day Weekend celebration in the country."
As race officials, Capito and Berger will be honored at a pre-race event, attend the official drivers meeting, address the crowd of more than 100,000 fans, participate in the pre-race spectacular and present the trophy to the winning driver in Victory Lane. As Grand Marshal, King will give the race command, while Capito will wave the green flag over the 43-car field to start NASCAR's most challenging race. As Honorary Race Director, Berger will ride in an official pace car.
Master Sergeant Cedric King was severely injured by an Improvised Explosive Device (I.E.D.) while serving his country in Afghanistan. Due to the explosion Cedric sustained a multitude of internal and external injuries and has become a bilateral leg amputee. Since then, he has spoken in front of Heads of State, professional athletic organizations, Fortune 500 businesses and thousands of everyday people who have been mesmerized by his story of survival and triumph. He is passionate about sharing his story with others to help encourage and motivate.
Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito proudly serves the people of West Virginia's Second Congressional District, where she represents a diverse constituency stretching from the Ohio River Valley to the state's eastern panhandle. She is also the Republican nominee in the race to represent West Virginia in the United States Senate.
Shelley is a former member of the West Virginia House of Delegates and is committed to serving the people of the Mountain State. When Congress is not in session, Shelley regularly travels her 17-county district to meet with West Virginians.
Born in Glen Dale in the northern panhandle, Shelley lives in Charleston, West Virginia with her husband, Charles L. Capito. They have three children: two sons, Charles and Moore, and one daughter, Shelley. They also have been blessed with a grandson and a granddaughter.
Phil Berger has served as the leader of the North Carolina Senate since January 2011. First elected to office in 2000, he represents the state's 26th Senate District, which includes Guilford and Rockingham counties.
Berger was raised in Danville, Virginia, just across the North Carolina border. He graduated high school in 1970 and married his high school sweetheart, Pat, in 1971. Berger became the first member of his family to get a college education, earning a bachelor's degree in sociology from Averett College and a law degree from Wake Forest University.
Berger worked for a law firm in Charlotte and clerked for an appellate judge in Raleigh before moving to Eden, North Carolina in 1984. He joined a practice that later became the Berger Law Firm - a partnership with his two sons. Phil and Pat still live in Eden. They have three children and four grandchildren.
Continuing a decades-old tradition of hosting the biggest Memorial Weekend celebration in America, the Coca-Cola 600 pre-race show will once again honor veterans and active duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces for their service and sacrifice. Coca-Cola is partnering with the USO to continue the momentum of the Every Moment Counts campaign that rallies Americans to show their support for troops and their families in a record breaking way. The American people are invited to show their gratitude for men and women in uniform through the simple act of giving a signature, in an attempt to set a Guinness World Record for "most signatures on a flag."
NASCAR fans will get their chance to participate when the center portion of the Every Moment Counts flag is unfurled during a special pre-race presentation. Individual panels from the Every Moment Counts flag will be available to sign by race attendees and NASCAR drivers alike to help the USO break the world record.
"As a long-term partner of the USO, Coca-Cola has been dedicated to honoring our brave service members and their families for more than 70 years," said Quinton Martin, vice president, Community Marketing, Coca-Cola North America. "Every Moment Counts is a wonderful campaign and a true reflection of the special moments and memories the USO makes possible. We're looking forward to the pre-race celebration at the Coca-Cola 600 and helping our great partner to break the Guinness World Record."
Coca-Cola has been involved with stock car racing for more than 50 years and has been the official sparkling beverage of NASCAR since 1998. Through its partnerships with International Speedway Corporation, Speedway Motorsports, Inc. and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Coca-Cola refreshes racing fans at the majority of NASCAR-sanctioned tracks. A signature part of the brand's NASCAR association is the Coca-Cola Racing Family - a group of top drivers that include Greg Biffle, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Ryan Newman, Danica Patrick and Tony Stewart. The company also has relationships with Jeff Burton, Austin Dillon, Bobby Labonte, Dale Jarrett, Ned Jarrett, Kyle Petty, Elliott Sadler, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Darrell Wallace, Jr. Coca-Cola Racing Family members make appearances and are featured in advertising, promotions and packaging.
With packages starting at just $99, fans can experience all the action and excitement that surrounds Coca-Cola 600 weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway with the Coca-Cola 600 Weekend Pass. The package includes tickets to see the stars of NASCAR hit the track to lay down the fastest lap during LiftMaster Pole Night on Thursday, May 22; a Saturday afternoon showdown as the NASCAR Nationwide Series drivers battle it out in the HISTORY 300 on May 24; and the historic 55th running of one of NASCAR's most prestigious events, the Cola-Cola 600 on Sunday, May 25. Fans can purchase tickets by calling 1-800-455-FANS or online at CharlotteMotorSpeedway.com. For the latest updates on the Coca-Cola 600 follow by liking Charlotte Motor Speedway on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CharlotteMotorSpeedway or following on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cltmotorspdwy. #CocaCola600