NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600: Pit Notes #14
Charlotte Motor Speedway has always been known for doing things bigger and better. First it was the longest race of the year, then the biggest pre-race show, then largest HDTV screen, and today CMS will also boast the largest free-flying American flag in the world when it is unveiled during the national anthem for Coca-Cola 600.
Charlotte Helicopters will present the flag, which is 65 feet tall and 123.5 feet long, to honor our country’s veterans on this Memorial Day weekend racing celebration. The 8,000-square-foot beauty, which weighs nearly 200 pounds, will be raised and towed by helicopter during pre-race festivities.
"What better way to show our pride and honor our fallen veterans, then to share this maiden flight with the most patriotic fans in America during NASCAR's homecoming weekend,” said Kevin Haynes, a US Army veteran who spent most of 2011 in Afghanistan as a civilian and is also a pilot for Charlotte Helicopters. “I have lifelong friends buried in our national cemeteries. It’s a privilege to fly this flag in their honor. We too easily forget that these men and women volunteer to die defending our freedoms. I only wish we could do more to honor them."
HALL OF FAMERS – Leonard Wood and Rusty Wallace, two of the class of 2013 inductees into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, joined the media Sunday in the Charlotte Motor Speedway media center. Wood, Wallace and the rest of the five-person class – Buck Baker, Cotton Owens and Herb Thomas – will be officially inducted in a ceremony on Feb. 8, 2013, at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte.
“It was very exciting,” Wood said. “(My brother) Glen and I always did things together and it was a great honor to go in right behind him. It’s been a great moment, and I’m just kind of living it up.”
Wallace was a first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee, , something he wasn’t expecting.
“I knew my numbers were there – my championship and my 55 victories and the other accomplishments I’ve had in the sport that numbers-wise should justify me getting in,” Wallace said. “But I thought the Hall was about people who were pioneers of the sport, that helped build NASCAR and got it going. But for sure I wasn’t gonna turn it down.”
Highway Patrol Partners With NASCAR Driver Burt Myers for Safety Campaign --The North Carolina Highway Patrol today announced a new safety awareness program with NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified driver Burt Myers. The campaign promotes the new “No Texting, Just Driving” educational program to create awareness of the dangers of texting while driving. The aim is to help reduce the number of traffic fatalities and injuries associated with texting while driving.
The program also features a poster with Myers and defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Tony Stewart, posing with a Highway Patrol car.
In making the announcement, Col. Michael Gilchrist, commander of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol noted, “Texting and driving, and distracted driving is a serious problem throughout the United States. The State Highway Patrol is always building these highway safety programs and is trying to help with the education and enforcement of these programs.”
The brainchild of the program is North Carolina Highway Patrol Sgt. Phillip Dixon of the Winston-Salem, NC district. “I see this every day with our investigations,” said Dixon. “We were just wanting to get some awareness out there. It’s a real privilege to have two of our champions on our poster. They were good enough to donate their time for this. And through our partners with NASCAR, we are hoping to reach that and educate them throughout the state.”
“It’s a real issue that needs to be addressed with young kids coming up,” said Myers. “These phones nowadays are a handheld computer, and the awareness that we are trying to push out there is critical. Dealing with the Highway Patrol, and we have been down to Speed Street and seen the little car that a young girl came over center left was driving; it was just destroyed and went over center line and she was a fatality because she was texting and driving. It brings it all home. I think that when people see that, it is an eye opener. I saw a lot of young kids come through and they admired the race car and they admired the Highway Patrol. I’m real honored to a part of it.”
Myers is also a five-time modified series champion at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC where Dixon is stationed. “Sgt. Dixon is a real good friend of mine. And the idea just kind of came together. He was the one who had the idea of pushing this message to the champions with Tony (Stewart) and I. I think we all just thought this is a great idea to try and gain recognition by pushing people in the right direction. I think it’s a great idea and a great campaign. Hopefully, it will save some lives.”
The campaign has also gone to high schools in the area to help get the message across. Myers has been running a special paint scheme car at Bowman Gray Stadium in the Whelen All-American Series modified division, and also on his Whelen Southern Modified Tour car showcasing the program.