Coca-Cola 600 Pit Note # 14
David Suddreth Receives Award - During today's Coca-Cola 600 pre-race festivities, Charlotte Motor Speedway security guard David Suddreth will be honored as the 2009 recipient of the Knights of Justice Award, which is presented by the National Association of Chiefs of Police. Suddreth has 50 years of service with the speedway security staff. Presenting the award will be deputy chief of Charlotte Motor Speedway Security, James "Odie" Wilson.
Coca-Cola 600 Honorees Bobby Allison and Shawn Johnson Reflect - In an afternoon press conference held in the Time Warner Media Center, Coca-Cola 600 Grand Marshal Bobby Allison and Olympic Gold Medalist Shawn Johnson met with the media. Johnson is also a "Dancing with the Stars" TV program winner and will serve as an honorary race official. She was given a speedway ride on Saturday with NASCAR driver Kyle Petty at more than 160 miles per hour. Allison won three Coca-Cola 600 races, and drove a Coca-Cola-sponsored car to a 1971 victory. He was presented with a driving suit and helmet, and he will drive a replica of his No. 12 1969 Mercury Cyclone for a parade lap during pre-race festivities.
"I have had a really good time," said Allison. "I've had a couple of different autograph sessions. This has always been an enjoyable thing for me. We got to introduce the diecast car, my winning car from 1971. I drove the Coca-Cola car when I won my first 600. The Speedway Children's Charities Ball the other night was a really super event again, like it always is."
Q - Can you talk about that 1969 Mercury in which you won your first 600-mile race?
"The car is now owned by Memory Lane Museum in Mooresville. They have done a good job of keeping that car really in the shape it was back in those days. I really enjoy the car just to be able to walk up next to it, and think about that day. To be able to drive that thing in the parade lap will really be special."
Q - What does it mean representing all those drivers who have won the 600 and about being Grand Marshal? "It is such a neat deal. You have to remember back when we raced, we were such vicious competitors. We weren't really buddy-buddy friends. Most of us got along okay with each other. We raced each other really hard, and were very intense about it. But, to be able to come back and represent all of those guys, every one of them great competitors. It takes that to win the Coca-Cola 600. It takes physical endurance, and the pit crew, equipment and all that kind of stuff. It's a real grueling racing event. You have to congratulate anybody who makes it to the checkered flag. So, to be able to honor those guys is special."
Gymnast Shawn Johnson's first NASCAR event at LMS - "I haven't had a chance to be a part of NASCAR," said Johnson. "This is my first race. My dad has always been a huge fan. I'm so excited to be here. The ride with Kyle Petty was unbelievable. To go 170 miles per hour, I was squealing. I couldn't even hear myself. This whole experience has been great. My thanks go to Coke for having me here."
Q - Was she more nervous riding in a race car at 170 or the finals of "Dancing with the Stars?" "It would probably be ‘Dancing with the Stars.' I was so excited about the car. Kyle said I surprised him in the car. I just wanted to drive it myself. My favorite driver, I know he's not racing, would have to be Kyle Petty. We became good friends yesterday. I would like to see him get a car and get out on the race track."