Today students from Lake Norman Elementary School will be recognized during Windstream Pole Night for their efforts toward having stock car racing established as the "official state sport" of North Carolina.

The 13 fifth-and-sixth grade students are responsible for the project from start to finish and saw their hard work rewarded on April 27, when the North Carolina Senate voted overwhelmingly, 46-3, to pass the bill.

The students, their parents and several school employees will be the guests of Charlotte Motor Speedway during Windstream Pole Night, which will set the field for the 52nd running of the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday, May 29. They will then be introduced to the race fans in attendance, giving the students an opportunity to be recognized by the people they set out to represent.

In addition to attending Windstream Pole Night, each of the students will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to climb into the starter's stand and wave the green flag for one of the 48 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers as they make their qualifying run.

The students brought the state sport bill to the North Carolina General Assembly in March, 2011. In proposing the legislation, the students pointed to motorsports' $6 billion annual economic impact to North Carolina and noted that Charlotte, N.C., and the surrounding region is home to Charlotte Motor Speedway, the NASCAR Hall of Fame and more than 90 percent of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams. More than 200 businesses in Cabarrus County support the motorsports industry, which employs nearly 20,000 people in the region.

"Having the students present to the Rules Committee in Raleigh was a true highlight for me as an educator," said Boen Nutting, principal at Lake Norman Elementary School. "It was a perfect example of teaching children that they can make a difference in the laws of our state. These children have taken learning out of the classroom and into their community. I'm very, very proud of the work they have done."

The measure has moved on to the North Carolina House of Representatives. If passed, North Carolina will join other U.S. states with an official state sport, including Alaska (dog mushing); Colorado (snowboarding and skiing); Massachusetts (basketball); Minnesota (hockey); and South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming (rodeo).

Tickets for the Coca-Cola 600 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). Fans can purchase two frontstretch tickets with the best views of the world's largest HD video board, for just $99.

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.