Fans will be witness to history even before the green flag drops on the 50th Coca-Cola 600, as Coca-Cola and Charlotte Motor Speedway pay tribute to the legends who have made the race one of NASCAR's crown jewels over the last half century.

Thrilling memories will be on display as every former winner of the Coca-Cola 600 is honored during a special celebration prior to the milestone 50th running of NASCAR's longest race. Serving as Grand Marshal - and representing all 26 drivers who have taken the checkered flag at the Coca-Cola 600 - will be NASCAR legend Bobby Allison, a three-time winner of the race (1971, 1981 and 1984).

Named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers and a member of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, Allison won 84 races in his storied career, tying him for third place all-time with Darrell Waltrip.

In addition to delivering the most famous words in motorsports - "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines" - Allison is set to take a ceremonial victory lap around Charlotte Motor Speedway in the actual Coca-Cola-sponsored

1969 Mercury Cyclone he drove to victory in the 1971 Coca-Cola 600. The car is currently on display at the Memory Lane Museum in Mooresville, N.C.

"The Coca-Cola 600 has always been one of the most grueling events on the NASCAR schedule and I can honestly say that every winner of this race was a tremendous competitor," said Allison. "I'm proud to serve as Grand Marshal, to be a part of Coca-Cola's rich tradition with NASCAR and represent all the drivers who have made it to Victory Lane at this great race."

Many of NASCAR's greatest drivers are among the winners of the Coca-Cola 600, including Richard Petty, Darrell Waltrip, David Pearson, Donnie Allison, Dale Jarrett, Rusty Wallace, Buddy Baker, Marvin Panch, and Fred Lorenzen .

"It's the unyielding competitiveness of the legendary drivers and the unwavering passion of the loyal fans that have made the Coca-Cola 600 such a great event for the past 50 years," said Beatriz Perez, senior vice president, Integrated Marketing, Coca-Cola North America. "We're looking forward to working with our partners at Charlotte Motor Speedway to honor the drivers and reward the fans as the centerpiece of the weekend's celebration activities."

The Coca-Cola 600 is the longest continuous race sponsorship in NASCAR. Traditionally the Coca-Cola 600 attracts approximately 180,000 fans to Charlotte Motor Speedway on Memorial Day Weekend. This year's race will be broadcast live on FOX on Sunday, May 24. Tickets for the Coca-Cola 600 are available online or by calling 1-800-455-FANS.

Coca-Cola is the Official Sparkling Beverage of NASCAR. A signature part of Coca-Cola's innovative NASCAR 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, Jamie McMurray, Kyle Petty, David Ragan, Elliott Sadler, Tony Stewart, Michael Waltrip, Aric Almirola and Joey Logano.

About The Coca-Cola Company

The Coca-Cola Company is the world's largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 450 sparkling and still brands. Along with Coca-Cola, recognized as the world's most valuable brand, the Company's portfolio includes 12 other billion dollar brands, including Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola Zero, vitaminwater, POWERade, Minute Maid and Georgia Coffee. Globally, we are the No. 1 provider of sparkling beverages, juices and juice drinks and ready-to-drink teas and coffees. Through the world's largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy the Company's beverages at a rate of 1.5 billion servings a day. With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our Company is focused on initiatives that protect the environment, conserve resources and enhance the economic development of the communities where we operate. For more information about our Company, please visit our website at www.thecoca-colacompany.com.