CONCORD, N.C. — As has become a tradition on Memorial Day Weekend, Charlotte Motor Speedway will once again pay tribute to the men of women of the U.S. Armed Forces with a rousing display of patriotism both before and during Sunday’s 61st running of the Coca-Cola 600.
“While the pandemic has forced us to change a lot about what makes Memorial Day Weekend so special, one thing it cannot change is our resolve to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms as well as those who continue the fight today,” said Greg Walter, executive vice president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway. “This year, our celebration here at America’s Home for Racing will be both virtual and at-track, and all shared with race fans through the FOX broadcast and on social media.”
Highlights to salute the troops include:
- U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper will virtually share the 2020 “State of Freedom” address as part of the FOX pre-race show.
- Edward Schrank, a 5-time head and neck cancer survivor from chemical exposure while serving 15 years in the United States Marine Corps, will perform a virtual national anthem.
- The Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation will conduct a live flyover featuring two vintage P-51 Mustang war birds flying alongside modern USAF F-16 and F-22 fighter attack jets.
- Active duty servicemen and women will offer video messages of support on behalf of each branch of service for Memorial Day Weekend.
- The U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg will execute a virtual 21-gun salute.
- Taps will be performed by United States Coast Guard Band Chief Musician Gino Villarreal.
- As part of the 600 Miles of Remembrance, each driver in the race will carry the name of a fallen service member across the windshield of their car.
- Near the mid-point of the race, NASCAR will instruct all drivers to pilot their cars down pit road and stop for a moment of remembrance in honor of all members of the U.S. Armed Forces who have sacrificed their lives to protect America’s freedom.