Over the course of his career, longtime WBTV journalist David Whisenant has covered countless laps of racing, car shows and campers at Charlotte Motor Speedway. On Friday, the Salisbury native will trade in his mic flag for a green flag, serving as grand marshal for opening night of Speedway Christmas, presented by Atrium Health.

Whisenant, who will retire from WBTV next month, has worked locally for the CBS station for 32 years, dutifully covering his Rowan and Cabarrus County beat. Perhaps the only thing more longstanding in his life is his passion for Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“I’ve been either coming to races as a fan or coming as a reporter for more than 50 years,” Whisenant said. “It’s one of the most special places in my life and in my career. The first time I came here, I was 10 years old. My dad came to my elementary school and picked me up, as a surprise, and brought me here to watch qualifying on a Wednesday. I was the world’s biggest Richard Petty fan, and that was the first time I’d ever seen Richard Petty in person.”

As grand marshal, Whisenant will do something at Charlotte Motor Speedway that even his childhood racing hero has never done, leading a field of cars to the green flag to kick off the 14th year of Speedway Christmas. And while passengers are prohibited from riding along during the Coca-Cola 600 or Bank of America ROVAL™ 400, Whisenant will have a few very special guests along for his ride Friday night.

“Coming back here with my granddaughters and my family and being able to be part of Speedway Christmas and turning on the lights will be one of the most special things of my entire career,” he said. “We have a tradition, my wife and I, of bringing our granddaughters here. We’ve been bringing them every year as long as they’ve been alive. They love it, and I love it. It’s the greatest thing in the world.”

“David Whisenant has been an exceptional storyteller who has served this community for more than 30 years,” said Charlotte Motor Speedway Executive Vice President and General Manager Greg Walter. “We’ve been fortunate that so many stories he’s told have been about the people and events at Charlotte Motor Speedway. It’s a true honor for us to recognize David and have him kick off Speedway Christmas for us with his family. We hope this will become yet another special memory he’ll have about Charlotte Motor Speedway.”


Speedway Christmas presented by Atrium Health is open nightly from Nov. 17 to Jan. 7 (closed Christmas Eve), with tickets per vehicle starting at $35 Monday-Wednesday, when the Christmas Village is close, and $45 Thursday-Sunday, when the Christmas Village is open. Guests can skip the lines and beat traffic with the Fast Pass Lane, accessible off of Morehead Road at entrance P. The Fast Pass Lane ensures a smooth ride at $75 per vehicle on Thursday-Sunday.

Get your tickets online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com or grab them at the gate.


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