CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Just one more race until the NASCAR Monster Energy series returns to Charlotte for two straight weekends.
As the excitement builds, the Charlotte Motor Speedway made a few more announcements Thursday.
Military servicemen and women from Fort Bragg were in attendance, appropriate since their presence is always felt on Memorial Day weekend at the track.
Hollywood star Channing Tatum will be the grand marshal for the Coca-Cola 600, a popular choice for the female crowd even if it isn’t for NASCAR driver Matt Kenseth.
“All I know is my 65-year old babysitter said that she likes this Magic Mike thing,” Kenseth said. “So I looked it up, and I think he was a male stripper. I was like, ‘that’s kind of weird Bonnie.’”
Tatum is just a small part of the pre-race ceremony. There are plans for an impressive patriotic salute to armed forces around the world brought to race fans by 600 of Fort Bragg’s finest.
“It’s a great honor for us to come out here and display a small portion of our capability to one of the most loyal fan bases in America,” Army Chief Warrant Officer Paul Williams Jr. said.
With a lot of powerful ammunition at their disposal, Chief Williams says the artillery pieces are their bread and butter.
“They’re really loud,” Chief Williams said. “NASCAR is a really loud sport, so fans really eat that stuff up.”
The Fort Bragg service members will take the track alongside Humvees, Howitzers, a HIMARS rocket launcher, an M777 Howitzer and a RAZOR combat vehicle.
In addition to the military vehicle display, soldiers from the Fort Bragg Firing Squad will engage in a 21-gun salute.
Three massive UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters will take over the sky before Charlotte’s iconic pre-race National Anthem performance by the 82nd Airborne Chorus Group. The National Anthem flyover will feature four F-15 fighter jets from Seymour Johnson AFB.
After a morning full of Coca-Cola 600 announcements, the Fort Bragg service members took to the track for a chance to ride along in the pace car with Matt Kenseth.