Coca-Cola 600 Pit Note #15
Legends Million Event at Charlotte Motor Speedway – The first Legends Million race will be July 15-17 on the infield quarter-mile track at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The winner will earn $250,000. Among the first of the nearly 200 entrants committed to compete are 18-time NASCAR Sprint Cup winner Geoffrey Bodine and current NASCAR competitor David Ragan, the 1999 National Champion for Bandolero cars. The speedway expects to receive somewhere between 600 and 800 entries for the three-day event. Entries from four foreign countries and 29 states have already been filed.
SPEED will televise the 100-lap feature race live on July 17, from 8-11 p.m., featuring taped highlights from Thursday and Friday night’s action. In making the announcement, Don Hawk, vice president of business affairs for Speedway Motorsports Inc., noted 28 drivers currently racing in NASCAR’s top series – Camping World Truck, Nationwide, and Sprint Cup – raced in Legends cars while working their way up the competition ladder.
“We have changed the company that was 600 Racing into US Legends International,” said Hawk. “It’s the opportunity of a lifetime for a short track racer, or for a veteran who wants to come back and race some of the younger folks. There are only 30 drivers in the final, and somebody is going to get a quarter-million to win. Second-place pays $100,000.”
Bodine has wanted to get back behind the wheel, and this will give the driver that chance while also raising money for charity.
“I live in Melbourne, Fla., most of the time,” said Bodine. ”I have met a lot of great people. We just did a benefit to raise money for a charity. My friends all heard about this race and said, ‘You need to run that race,’ and they know I still want to drive. They kept bugging me about it, and this whole charity thing came up. I finally said I would do it under one condition – if we gave all the money to charity. So, we are going to give all the money we win to the Brevard Alzheimer’s Association. It’s a great organization. Plus, this will bring more awareness to this tragic disease. This is why we love Charlotte Motor Speedway. They come up with the greatest things. They care about competitors, but they care about the race fans, too. They give them great shows. I’m just glad to be a part of it.”
David Ragan came up through the Bandolero and Legends Car ranks with numerous wins before arriving at the top NASCAR level.
“I grew up racing Legends cars in the Atlanta area,” said Ragan. “We would come up here (Charlotte Motor Speedway) for the Summer Shoot-Out Series. This was the Super Bowl of Legends Car racing. Every summer, we would pack our bags and come up here for the 10 weeks. A lot of big races in all types of series happen here at the speedway. This is just another chapter in a long book for that. The Legends Million will live up to that. There are a lot of great racers from all around the country. And, certainly, $1 million will bring them here from all over the world. There will probably be some nervous guys, including myself, when they drop the green flag. It is going to be a great race for the fans. Overall, it should be a great weekend, and I’m glad to be a part of it. Without the Legends car series, I wouldn’t be sitting here getting ready to start the Coca-Cola 600. The Legends cars do two things: they are affordable for a family to go racing, and they are competitive. They taught me at a young age what hard racing is all about.”
Bruton Smith, chairman of the board of Speedway Motorsports Inc., originated the idea.