Salute the Troops Pre-Race Spectacular Kicks Off the Coca-Cola 600!
Charlotte Motor Speedway's Salute the Troops Pre-Race Spectacular prior to the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, May 25, will include the presentation of 1,500 soldiers along with an assault demonstration in which troops will be inserted via helicopters into "enemy territory."
"We are proud to continue the Memorial Day Weekend tradition of saluting the men and women of our armed forces as they serve and protect our freedom," said H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway. "We are very grateful to all those who have served our country and this pre-race spectacular will be a moving tribute to their dedication."
During the assault demonstration, which will take place in the grass between pit road and the frontstretch, two infantry squads from the 82nd Airborne Division will be inserted into "enemy territory" via a pair of UH-60 helicopters. While the troops take control on the ground, two OH-58 Delta Reconnaissance helicopters and a pair of AH-64 Long Bow Apache helicopters will provide air support. The soldiers will also use Howitzers to complete the objective and destroy the enemy.
The presentation of troops along the track's frontstretch will include soldiers from Fort Bragg representing the XVIII Airborne Corps, the 82nd Airborne Division, the United States Airborne Army Special Operations Command and the North Carolina National Guard.
The 82nd Airborne All-American Chorus, the official ambassadors of the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division, will perform and the Golden Knights, the U.S. Army Parachute Team, will descend into the speedway.
Over 100 motorcycle enthusiasts representing Rolling Thunder, an advocacy group dedicated to prisoners of war and those missing in action, will make a parade lap around the 1.5-mile superspeedway and present a POW/MIA flag to be flown at the speedway during the 600-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.
Other elements of the Salute the Troops Pre-Race Spectacular include an exhibition by legendary NHRA Funny Car competitor John Force, an appearance by Toyota's Tundra Monster Truck and a performance by over 200 bagpipers.
Earlier on race day, the Road2Recovery East Coast Ride will conclude at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Produced in partnership with the Fitness Challenge Foundation, the Road2Recovery bicycle ride starts May 20 in Washington, D.C. The ride will feature veterans, celebrities, athletes and thousands of Americans coming together to help injured heroes return to a life free of the mental and physical toll resulting from their service to our country.
The Road2Recovery raises money to create and support spinning and outdoor cycling programs at military and Veterans Administration locations.
Tickets for the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday evening, May 25, start at $39 and can be purchased online or by calling the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS.