Never-Before-Seen Driver Intros, Military Demos, Music Highlight Coca-Cola 600 Pre-Race Show
The 43 drivers battling it out at Charlotte Motor Speedway Memorial Day Weekend will get the introduction of a lifetime when U.S. military members serving abroad present the competitors on the world’s largest HD video board during the Let Freedom Race pre-race show for the May 29 Coca-Cola 600.
The driver introductions were coordinated and taped by the USO and feature active-duty U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine personnel serving around the globe.
The pre-race show for NASCAR’s legendary 600-mile Sprint Cup Series race will feature a spectacular tribute to the men and women who have served, are currently serving or have made the ultimate sacrifice in the U.S. Armed Forces.
“Our tradition of celebrating fast cars, family fun and freedom continues with the 52nd running of the Coca-Cola 600,” said Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway. “This Memorial Day Weekend we’ll showcase the country’s most spectacular military pre-race show on the world’s largest HDTV to honor the men and women in the U.S. Armed Forces who protect our way of life.”
The Let Freedom Race Coca-Cola 600 pre-race show will start at 3:30 p.m. and will include a military invasion simulation by U.S. Army special forces troops from Fort Bragg, N.C.
A video documentary on the Vietnam War from The History Channel will be played on the speedway’s Sprint Vision screens and the giant HDTV. Medal of Honor recipients Hector Cafferata (Korea), Gary Littrell (Vietnam) and Walter Marm (Vietnam) will be recognized on the pre-race stage.
Country music singer Darryl Worley is scheduled to perform a 30-minute concert where he will sing his hit single “Have You Forgotten?” about the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Lee Greenwood will also take to the stage to perform his patriotic anthem, “God Bless the U.S.A.”
Following the one-of-a-kind driver introductions, more than 100 family members of Fort Bragg soldiers will unfurl an 11,250-square-foot American flag on the frontstretch grass.
The final fly-over before the start of the race will include a B-2 Stealth Bomber flown by pilots from the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri.
Additional pre-race festivities for the Coca-Cola 600 will include an air show by the U.S. Black Daggers parachute team; performances by the U.S. Army drill team; a 21-gun salute by soldiers from Fort Bragg; a bagpipe performance of “Amazing Grace” by the Charlotte Fire Department; and “Taps” played by a Fort Bragg bugler.
Also during the pre-race festivities, Vietnam War veteran and former Post Commander of the American Legion, Dale Punch, will be honored with the Stonewall Jackson Award. Presented by Charlotte Motor Speedway annually since 1992, the award recognizes standards of patriotism through personal support of the military and personal service to sacrifice above and beyond the call of duty.
The only 600-mile event on the NASCAR schedule, the Coca-Cola 600 tests the endurance of both drivers and equipment and provides fans more entertainment value than any other sporting event in America.
Tickets for all May races at Charlotte Motor Speedway can be purchased online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com or by calling the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267). Frontstretch tickets with the best views of the world’s largest HD video board, start at just $49 for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 21. Fans can also purchase two frontstretch tickets for just $99 to the Coca-Cola 600 on May 29.
For daily updates on May race activities, connect with Charlotte Motor Speedway by following on Twitter at www.twitter.com/CLTMotorSpdwy or become a Facebook fan at www.facebook.com/charlottemotorspeedway.