High-Powered Military Exercises and Inspiring Musical Performances Highlight Spectacular Salute the Troops Coca-Cola 600 Pre-Race Show
For decades, Charlotte Motor Speedway has paid tribute to the U.S. Armed Forces each Memorial Day Weekend with a captivating pre-race show before the drop of the green flag for the Coca-Cola 600. On May 29, the 57th running of the ultimate test of man and machine, which will see drivers face in-car temperatures exceeding 120 degrees in the heat of May, will host one of the biggest military appreciation pre-race spectaculars in the track's history. The only 600-mile race on the NASCAR schedule, the Coca-Cola 600 tests the endurance of both drivers and equipment and provides fans more entertainment value than any other sporting event in America.
"The Salute the Troops portion of our pre-race show gives us a chance to say thank you to those who have served or continue to serve our country and protect our freedom," said Marcus Smith, CEO of Speedway Motorsports, Inc. and president of Charlotte Motor Speedway. "It's a tradition our fans look forward to every year; seeing military demonstrations at live speed and the firepower is always impressive. We are always proud to work with our area military bases to bring this show to the fans. On top of that, we've got Lee Brice, one of country music's biggest stars, performing during our Pre-Race Pit Party, so our fans will certainly be in for an unforgettable day at Charlotte Motor Speedway."
Military Re-enactment Storms the Skies and the Frontstretch
The action-packed show will include:
- Ground exercises with troops from Fort Bragg featuring Humvees, Howitzers, a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System and more
- Rope teams from Fort Bragg descending from Black Hawk helicopters with an aerial reenactment of an invasion
- Vintage war birds with a flyover parade during pre-race ceremonies including a T-35 Buckaroo, P-149 Trainer, C-46 Commando, T-6 Texan and two P-51 Mustangs
- A 21-gun salute from the Fort Bragg Firing Squad
- 600 U.S. Army soldiers marching down the grandstands to the frontstretch, where they will display two American flags each as large as a football field
- Four F-15s from the 334th Fighter Squadron, Fighting Eagles Seymour Johnson AFB
- Sky-diving members of Team Fastrax descending to the infield with Old Glory flying behind
Thousands of Troops Honored during Pre-Race Ceremonies
- Fans will be able to salute the troops when 600 soldiers from Fort Bragg walk through the grandstands to the infield
- Through the Charlotte Motor Speedway Patriot Partners program, buses will bring thousands of troops. An unprecedented social media presence will allow fans to keep track of the troops' adventures by following #PatriotPartners on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
- Fans and businesses can take part by sponsoring an entire bus, or by donating Coca-Cola 600 tickets for just $25 each through the Let The Troops Race program
- Medal of Honor recipients Major General Patrick Henry Brady and U.S. Army Officer Joe Marm Jr. will also be recognized on the pre-race stage
- Through the new Salute the Crews program, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team members who have served in the military will be recognized during the pre-race ceremonies and on the giant Speedway TV
Military Performers, Country Music Stars Headline the Entertainment
A star-studded musical lineup will highlight the Coca-Cola 600 pre-race show, including:
- Two-time GRAMMY nominee and country music megastar Lee Brice will perform a 45-minute pre-race concert presented by Speed Perks
- Bugler from Fort Bragg to perform "Taps"
- Rendition of "Amazing Grace" by the Charlotte Fire Department Pipe Band
- Performance of "The Star Spangled Banner" by the 82nd Airborne Chorus
- Performances of "God Bless the USA" and the Armed Forces Medley
To purchase tickets, camping and race-day upgrades, fans can call the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or shop online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.