NASCAR Banking 500 only from Bank of America Pre-Race Festivities Include an Old-Fashioned Homecoming - NASCAR Style
Pre-race festivities for Saturday night's NASCAR Banking 500 only from Bank of America at Charlotte Motor Speedway are highlighted by an old-fashioned Homecoming - NASCAR Style - as drivers and teams return to their home track after five months on the road.
The homecoming celebration includes seven-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Richard Petty serving as the homecoming king and the presentation of a homecoming queen still to be announced from an online fan vote. Fans will be greeted by cheerleaders from area high schools that participated in the speedway's "fund-racing" program and several musical performances are also on tap.
MercyMe, TobyMac, Robert Pierre and Fee will perform during a pre-race concert and Eric Church will take to the stage during CollegeFest. Candy Coburn will sing "God Bless America" and the North Carolina A&T State University marching band will entertain fans and perform the national anthem.
Spectator gates open Saturday at 2 p.m.
An approximate timeline of selected events leading up to the start of the NASCAR Banking 500 only from Bank of America follows:
A pre-race concert, featuring MercyMe, TobyMac, Fee and Robert Pierre, takes place on the apron inside Turn 4. The 3-hour concert offers race fans the opportunity to stand on the historical race track prior to the start of the NASCAR Banking 500 only from Bank of America.
A native of Granite Falls, N.C., country music singer Eric Church celebrates Homecoming - NASCAR Style - with a performance as part of CollegeFest. The inaugural CollegeFest takes place in the grass lot behind the Diamond Tower grandstand in Turn 2.
Performance by the North Carolina A&T State University marching band on the speedway's frontstretch.
Adding to the homecoming festivities, cheerleaders from several area high schools that participated in Charlotte Motor Speedway's "fund-racing" program will be introduced during pre-race ceremonies. Among the high schools expected to be represented are East Mecklenburg, West Mecklenburg, Butler, Hopewell, Northwest Cabarrus and the Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology.
Rising country music star Candy Coburn sings "God Bless America."
The pre-race flyover features a C-17 and a KC-135 from Altus Air Force Base in Oklahoma. The two planes will perform a simulated refueling over the speedway. This is the first time the maneuver has been performed at a sporting event.
Official welcome by Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team owner Robert Yates receives the prestigious Smokey Yunick Award. Instituted several years ago by legendary car owner and mechanic Smokey Yunick who passed away May 11, 2001, the award annually recognizes an individual whose lifelong efforts have had a major impact on the motorsports industry.
Introduction of special guests including Charles Bowman, president, Bank of America North Carolina; Honorary Starter NASCAR Banking customer Phil Bickley; Honorary Race Director Hala Moddelmog, CEO of the Susan G. Komen Foundation; Fan Homecoming Queen (to be announced); NASCAR Banking 500 Homecoming King Richard Petty and Grand Marshal (to be announced).
NASCAR Banking 500 driver introductions along with the presentation of NASCAR special awards. Drivers will exit the frontstretch stage and ride around the speedway in Toyota trucks. Drivers will return to the frontstretch where their cars will be staged on the track.
Presentation of colors by Air Force ROTC Detachment 592 from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Invocation given by NASCAR team owner and former NFL coach Joe Gibbs.
National anthem performed by the North Carolina A&T State University marching band.
"Gentleman Start Your Engines" command given by Grand Marshal (to be announced).
Start of the NASCAR Banking 500 only from Bank of America.
Several affordable ticket packages are still available for Saturday night's NASCAR Banking 500. Individual tickets start at $49 and frontstretch tickets are available for $69. For information, contact the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS or shop online.