CHARLOTTE, N.C.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The 2016 Coca-Cola 600, the nation’s largest Memorial Day celebration,
will feature a number of elected officials and dignitaries honoring our
nation’s service men and women at one of NASCAR’s most challenging
races. Gen. George W. Casey, Jr. (Ret.), Chairman of the USO, will be
the Grand Marshal; Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin will serve as Honorary
Starter; and Cookeville, Tennessee Mayor Ricky Shelton will serve as
Honorary Race Director for the 57th running of NASCAR’s only
600-mile race at the famed Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday, May 29.
Continuing its tradition as the biggest Memorial Day Weekend celebration
in America, the Coca-Cola 600 pre-race show will pay tribute to veterans
and active duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces.
“This is a special year for the Coca-Cola 600,” said Kimberly Kuo,
Senior Vice President, Public Affairs at Coca-Cola Consolidated. “Not
only will it be an incredible show for race fans – with top drivers
facing off on a grueling track, but we also have an exciting group
gathered to honor America’s servicemen and women, as well as our
longstanding partnership with the USO. We are honored to have military
service members and USO volunteers join General Casey in saying those
famous words: ‘Drivers, Start Your Engines!’”
To commemorate the special 75-year relationship between Coca-Cola and
the USO, the USO of North Carolina, with the longest continuously
operating USO center in the world, is bringing 75 service members and
USO volunteers from across North Carolina to join the Grand Marshal –
retired Army General George Casey – in giving the command sequence.
Several of the service members and volunteers will also display a
special USO 75th anniversary flag as the race command is
As a founding partner, The Coca-Cola Company celebrates the USO’s 75th
anniversary with limited edition “Share a Coke and a Song” packaging
featuring the classic lyric “I’m Proud To Be An American.” Beginning
Memorial Day weekend through July 4, the custom design will be available
nationwide on limited edition 16-ounce cans and 20-, 24- and 35-packages
of 12-ounce Coca-Cola® beverages. Fans are encouraged to join Coca-Cola
in honoring the USO during this historic celebration.
Coca-Cola has been involved with stock car racing for more than 50 years
and has been the official sparkling beverage of NASCAR since 1998.
Through its partnerships with International Speedway Corporation,
Speedway Motorsports, Inc. and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Coca-Cola
refreshes racing fans at the majority of NASCAR-sanctioned tracks. A
signature part of the brand’s NASCAR association is the Coca-Cola Racing
Family – a group of top drivers including Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano,
Austin Dillon, Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart and Danica Patrick. Coca-Cola
Racing Family members make appearances and are featured in advertising,
promotions and on packaging.
General Casey served as the 36th Chief of Staff of the United
States Army from April 2007 to 2011 and is widely credited with
restoring balance to the U.S. Army, modernizing and leading the
transformation necessary to defend our nation in the 21st
Century, and ensuring the current force deployed in the war on terror
was the best this country has ever fielded. From 2004 to 2007, General
Casey commanded the Multi-National Force – Iraq, a coalition of more
than 30 countries, where he guided the Iraq mission through its toughest
days. On the home front, General Casey has been a stalwart advocate for
troops and military families.
Matt Bevin was elected as the 62nd Governor of Kentucky in 2015. Born in
rural New Hampshire, Governor Bevin immersed himself in public service
at a young age. He attended Washington and Lee University, in Virginia,
on an ROTC scholarship and upon graduation served Active Duty as a US
Army officer. Governor Bevin has served on many non-profit boards, and
has permanently endowed several scholarship funds, grants and centers
that provide educational opportunities for young people with limited
financial resources. He is a husband and father of nine children, a
military veteran, a successful entrepreneur and a small business owner.
Ricky Shelton is a Cookeville, TN native and lifelong resident who was
elected mayor in 2014. Shelton serves on numerous boards and commissions
in his capacity as mayor, including Cookeville Regional Medical Center
Board of Trustees, the Upper Cumberland Development District, the Upper
Cumberland Regional Airport Authority, the Upper Cumberland Human
Resource Agency, Putnam County 911 Board, the Upper Cumberland Family
Justice Center Board, as well as Vice Chairman of the Joint Economic and
Community Development Board Executive Committee. Mayor Shelton and his
wife Shannon are parents to six children.
Keep up with all the latest news from the speedway by liking Charlotte
Motor Speedway on Facebook,
or by downloading the Charlotte Motor Speedway mobile app. To purchase
tickets, camping and race-day upgrades, call the speedway ticket office
at 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or shop online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.
Charlotte-based Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated is the nation’s
largest independent Coca-Cola bottler, selling a broad portfolio of
beverages that fit every activity and lifestyle. Learn more about
Coca-Cola Consolidated at www.cokeconsolidated.com,
and be sure to follow us on Facebook,
Kimberly Kuo, 704-557-4584
Scott Cooper, 704-455-3209