Twenty-nine of Charlotte Motor Speedway’s biggest fans who have been coming to events at the track for half a century will be recognized during pre-race ceremonies for the Bank of America 500 on Oct. 15.

Eight of these fans will be on hand at the speedway and will be recognized on the pre-race stage and all 29 fans will be recognized on the world’s largest HDTV before the green flag flies for the only night race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Fans in attendance will include Harold Barnhardt from Lexington, N.C.; Thomas Connor from Shelby, N.C.; Ted Hall from Charlotte, N.C.; Tommy Helms from Rock Hill, S.C.; Robert Misenheimer from Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Ron Pender from Cary, N.C.; Riley Rau from Woodstock, Va., and Ray Warren from North Wilkesboro, N.C.

Each of the 29 50-Year fans has been attending races at Charlotte Motor Speedway since 1960, when the first World 600, now Coca-Cola 600, was run at the legendary superspeedway.

“I have introduced my wife, kids and my grandkids to the sights and sounds that is Charlotte Motor Speedway,” said Pender. “I think the way Mr. Smith has kept improving the track and doing what needs to be done to make Charlotte the best track on the circuit is what keeps me coming back every year.”

“I’ve seen a lot of changes over the years and they’ve all been for the good,” said Rau. “It always seems to get a little better at Charlotte.”

“I have enjoyed every minute of coming to Charlotte Motor Speedway and being a part of the growing crowds and excitement for 50 years,” said Misenheimer. “I know that I am biased, but after having attended races at many of the big well known tracks, there is no place like Charlotte Motor Speedway, it is the very best.”

In addition to participating in the pre-race festivities, each of the 50-Year fans will receive an official 50-Year Fan credential and commemorative lanyard.  

The 50-Year fan acknowledgement is part of a new initiative by Charlotte Motor Speedway to recognize and reward repeat fans. First-time fans will receive a yellow “Rookie” lanyard  and First Time Fan pack which includes maps, an informational DVD and an “Only in Charlotte” list of must-do activities for race week. Other long-time fans who have been coming to events at Charlotte Motor Speedway for five, 10, 20 years and more can expect additional details to come on the new recognition program when it officially launches in 2012.

“We have the best and the most devoted fans in all of motorsports,” said Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway. “There are so many fans that make Charlotte Motor Speedway a big part of their yearly vacation and entertainment plans. It’s time we recognize them for coming back year after year.”

Tickets for all October races at Charlotte Motor Speedway can be purchased online at or by calling the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267). It’s a great time to take the whole family to the races, with Charlotte Motor Speedway’s new smoke-and-alcohol-free Family Seating Section, where kids’ tickets start at just $10 for the Bank of America 500 and just $1 for Bojangles’ Pole Night and the Dollar General 300 Miles of Courage.

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