Coca-Cola 600 Pit Note # 1
In a press conference in the Time Warner Media Center early on Thursday, Aflac and speedway officials announced the winners of the Aflac Motorsports Journalism Awards of Excellence in memory of Russ Catlin. These awards recognize outstanding motorsports coverage in five categories.
Scott Cooper, vice president of communications at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and Keith Farley, manager of corporate sponsorship at Aflac, were on hand to make the presentations.
"This award has established itself as the most-coveted among motorsports journalists, and we've been a very proud partner in this for many years," said Cooper.
More than 75 entries were submitted for judging by the Indiana School of Journalism.
"We're excited to present this award, and we just want to thank everyone who submitted for the competition," Farley said.
Winners received plaques, and their names will be included on a perpetual trophy kept in the Time Warner Media Center at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Aflac donates a $1,000 scholarship to a school of each winner's choice in his or her name.
Winners were Susan Wade, of the "Newark Star-Ledger" (in the Daily Writing category); Mike Hembree, of "NASCAR Scene" (Other Writing); Tom Rinaldi, of ESPN (National Broadcast); Kevin Wrenn, of WGHP-TV (Local Broadcast); and Will Lester, of the "Inland Valley Daily Bulletin" (Photojournalism).
Aflac also recognized the late David Poole, motorsports writer for the "Charlotte Observer" and co-host of "The Morning Drive" on SIRIUS satellite radio, for his contributions to the field of motorsports journalism. Poole's wife Katy, her sister Laurie, and Poole's grandson Eli accepted an award in his honor. Aflac also honored Poole's memory with a $1,000 donation to the Pennies for Wessa Foundation.
Charlotte Motor Speedway recognized Poole by formally dedicating the media deadline room in the Time Warner Media Center to his memory. The speedway also reserved his seat in both the Media Center and the Press Box for the May race weekends. Katy Poole was presented with a duplicate of the plaque that will hang above the media deadline room door.
"I am a great example of somebody who learned so much about motorsports through David's work," Cooper said. "David was incredibly passionate about what he did, and people who are passionate about their jobs are always successful, and they are well respected. David was the type of person who made you work harder, and he made you stop and think."
Speedway Children's Charities Charlotte Motor Speedway Track Walk - On May 24, at 8 a.m., fans will be allowed to walk around legendary Charlotte Motor Speedway as part of the Speedway Children's Charities Track Walk. The event, held on the morning of the 50th running of the Coca-Cola 600, will benefit the Charlotte chapter of Speedway Children's Charities. Online registration was open through May 19, and trackside registration begins today.