Wednesday, as part of a month-long prelude to the 64th running of the Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day Weekend, Charlotte Motor Speedway continued its Mission 600 campaign by hosting a virtual visit with Coca-Cola Racing Family driver Daniel Suárez and members of Area Support Group-Jordan (ASG-J), based outside the Middle Eastern capital city of Amman, Jordan.
Mission 600 is a campaign that pairs NASCAR drivers with military bases designed to educate the NASCAR community about the day-to-day lives of the men and women who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. The engagements serve as a prelude to Charlotte Motor Speedway’s patriotic pre-race salute to the troops as part of its traditional Memorial Day Weekend festivities ahead of the Coca-Cola 600.
During the hour-long virtual visit, members of ASG-J shared with Suárez, Charlotte Motor Speedway Executive Vice President and General Manager Greg Walter and Performance Racing Network President Doug Rice insights into their mission to provide logistics, communications needs, force protection and host nation coordination throughout the region. Over the course of the conversation, Suárez and the unit found common ground on topics ranging from the importance of teamwork to persevering through adversity.
“I have been fortunate enough to visit a few bases and see how you guys train and you operate; it’s amazing,” Suárez told the group. “You guys work extremely hard. It’s a 24/7 thing. You deserve huge respect for putting in the effort, putting in the work, many times away from families.”
At Charlotte Motor Speedway, Memorial Day Weekend provides the opportunity to pay tribute to the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces, particularly those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. The patriotic Coca-Cola 600 pre-race show includes representation from all six major branches of the military.
“The Coca-Cola 600 is a very special race for many different reasons,” Suárez said. “We get to remember all the people that have paid the ultimate sacrifice and give us the freedoms we have in the most amazing country in the world. I come from a different country. To come here and enjoy these freedoms, to enjoy what I am able to do, it’s not by magic.”
Earlier this month, Mission 600 took fellow Coca-Cola Racing Family driver Austin Dillon and his Richard Childress Racing crew member Paul Swan to Fort Bragg for an in-person visit. Upcoming engagements include taking Denny Hamlin, last year’s Coca-Cola 600 winner, to Arlington National Cemetery to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier; Joey Logano will also visit sailors at Naval Station Norfolk, while Aric Almirola is scheduled to spend a day with Marines at Camp Lejeune.
“It’s never lost on us that the Coca-Cola 600 – one of NASCAR’s crown jewels – falls on the eve of Memorial Day,” Walter said. “One of the truly special things about our sport is the fact that our athletes and fans really appreciate what our service men and women do each and every day. During the Coca-Cola 600, we carry the names of the fallen on the windshields of the cars. We stop the race half way for a moment of remembrance. We don’t lose sight of what that holiday is about.”
Tickets are still available for the May 26-28 Coca-Cola 600 weekend, with three-day packages starting at $99. Weekend tickets for children ages 12 and under are just $10. Fans can purchase tickets online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com or by calling the ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267). Admission to Circle K Speed Street concerts by AC/DC tribute band Dirty Deeds (Friday) and Jake Owen (Saturday) is free with any race ticket. Sunday’s infield pre-race concert by The Doobie Brothers is free with purchase of a Coca-Cola 600 race ticket.