For former drill sergeant and United States Army all-star, Derek Heavener, of Huntington, W. Va., the dream of being a NASCAR All-Star has come true thanks to Charlotte Motor Speedway. 

Heavener, who wrote an essay detailing why he should be considered for the “Be an All-Star” Facebook contest, was selected as the grand prize winner from more than 500 entries. 

“I’ve served my country honorably in the United States Army for 19 years. I’ve been deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo and have stood shoulder to shoulder with some of the greatest all-stars of our time; the American soldier,” wrote Heavener.

Heavener won two tickets to the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 19, pre-race pit passes, VIP parking for the race and a role in Charlotte Motor Speedway’s 2012 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race commercial.

He will join NASCAR stars Mark Martin, Paul Menard, Junior Johnson and the 2011 NASCAR Sprint All-Star race winner Carl Edwards on the set for a behind-the-scenes look at one of NASCAR’s most creative commercials, shot in a replica Wild West town.

2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart, SPEED TV personality Jeff Hammond and NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip also will star in the commercial.

The NASCAR Sprint All-Star race, held under the lights on Saturday night, May 19, is the ultimate stand-off among the top drivers in NASCAR in a no-holds barred throwdown for the $1 million prize.  The race, now in its 28th year, annually produces some of the best duels and biggest drama in racing.

The NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race weekend will feature a special pre-race concert with a music act to be announced and the race will be broadcast nationally by SPEED.  

Frontstretch tickets with the best views of the world’s largest HDTV and all the action on pit road start at just $49 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com or call 1-800-455-FANS (3267). 

Connect with Charlotte Motor Speedway on Twitter at www.twitter.com/CLTMotorSpdwy or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/charlottemotorspeedway.