Speedway Motorsports Receives 2019 President's Veterans Recognition Award from Coca-Cola
In honor of its unwavering commitment to saluting the United States Armed Forces, Speedway Motorsports was named the recipient of the 2019 President's Veterans Recognition Award from Coca-Cola.
The prestigious award was presented at The Coca-Cola Company's annual Veterans Day Celebration in Atlanta to Speedway Motorsports President and CEO Marcus Smith, who accepted the accolades on behalf of Speedway Motorsports' eight world-class motorsports entertainment facilities: Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Sonoma Raceway and Texas Motor Speedway.
"It is a tremendous honor to receive the President's Veterans Recognition Award from such an organization as well-respected as Coca-Cola," Smith said. "Our company prides itself on offering unmatched experiences for veterans, active-duty military guests and their families. Our initiatives are simply an effort to say 'thank you' to our heroes in the U.S. Armed Forces. Because of what they do, we get to do what we do. This award is a credit to the never-ending support for our military from the Speedway Motorsports family, and we are humbled by this recognition."
Among Speedway Motorsports' military support programs, the newly created Welcome Home Patriots initiative is designed to improve the lives of servicemen and servicewomen after active duty. The program salutes, engages and enables members of the U.S. Armed Forces as they transition to civilian life. Additionally, Speedway Motorsports offers military discounts at all eight venues and promotes discounted ticket purchases at Charlotte Motor Speedway through the speedway's unique Patriot Partners program - which has distributed more than 100,000 NASCAR event tickets to military bases and the USO since the program's inception in 2010.
As part of an unrivaled pre-race spectacle prior to the iconic Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day weekend, Charlotte Motor Speedway hosts the nation's largest military salute with thousands of active-duty troops and family members representing all five branches of the U.S. Armed Forces in attendance. The salute annually includes unique experiences including pre-race military exercise demonstrations, a 600-troop march and Gold Star family hospitality. In 2019, the speedway also hosted 'Mission 600', an interactive series of educational visits by Coca-Cola Racing Family drivers Kyle Larson, Austin Dillon, Bubba Wallace, Ryan Newman and Denny Hamlin to mid-Atlantic regional military bases.
"Speedway Motorsports is a leader in serving those who serve. They do incredible work to support service members and veterans of our U.S. Armed Forces," said Jim Dinkins, president, Coca-Cola North America. "We have a long history of partnering together on events like the Coca-Cola 600, and it's an honor to celebrate their accomplishments with this award."
Additional Speedway Motorsports military initiatives include New Hampshire Motor Speedway's Send a Soldier program - which provides soldiers with tickets to New Hampshire's races - as well as Atlanta Motor Speedway's Folds of Honor-sponsored NASCAR race and recognition of the Folds of Honor Military Scholarship recipient.
Texas Motor Speedway annually hosts a First Responder and Military Appreciation Night for the July 4 holiday weekend, while Kentucky Speedway has donated significant funding to the USO as well as partnered with the Kentucky National Guard and branches of the U.S. Armed Forces to salute military members on race weekends.
Among other initiatives, Bristol Motor Speedway's long-standing relationship with the Tennessee Army National Guard led to honoring one of their soldiers with a trip to America's Night Race and a pre-event lunch with hundreds of his peers in Nashville. The short track also honors veterans through its "Prisoner of War Chair" near the start finish line flag stand that sits empty at all times to honor those military members who never returned from their duty.
Sonoma Raceway, honored veterans during its June NASCAR race weekend by hosting a large display featuring vintage U.S. military tanks, while more than 3,000 veterans and their families attended each of Las Vegas Motor Speedway's NASCAR weekends through its Welcome Home Troops program in 2019. The speedway also hosted swearing-in ceremonies for new U.S. Air Force recruits at each event.
Collectively, the speedways also express exemplary support of the U.S. Armed Forces through military flyovers, static displays and band performances along with employment of veterans and National Guard members on NASCAR race weekends.
Speedway Motorsports is the first sports entertainment company to receive the President's Veterans Recognition Award in the 20 years it has been presented.