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After the return to North Wilkesboro Speedway, NASCAR stays in the Tar Heel State for one of the most humbling and patriotic weekends in sports: the Coca-Cola 600.
NASCAR’s longest race has provided many entertaining renditions, including arguably the most exciting race a year ago. With many patriotic schemes and one of the best recognition ceremonies of the military in sports, here are the race dignitaries.
FOX Sports Booth: Tony Stewart returns to the booth for the first time since Talladega Superspeedway. Smoke will be making his seventh appearance in the booth.
Grand Marshal: With the race being one of Coca-Cola’s biggest motorsports weekends, four former Coca-Cola Racing Family drivers join together to serve as grand marshals for the Coca-Cola 600. Each one is a former winner of the Coca-Cola: Jeff Burton (1999 and 2001), Dale Jarrett (1994), Bobby Labonte (1995) and Kyle Petty (1987).
Mike Beach, a Luck E Rewards winner, will serve as the grand marshal for the N.C. Education Lottery 200, while Samantha Busch will hold the role for the Alsco Uniforms 300.
Honorary Pace Car Driver: Danny McBride brings some speed of his own as the honorary pace car driver for the Coca-Cola 600. McBride is the creator of HBO’s The Righteous Gemstones.
Honorary Starter: South Carolina congresswoman Nancy Mace joins the weekend to serve as the Grand Marshal for NASCAR’s longest race.
Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Alsco Ben Fox will be the honorary starter for the NXS race, while Luck E Rewards winner Thomas Martin will wave the green flag for the NCTS race.
National Anthem: S. Marine Corps, 2nd Aircraft MC Band highlights the patriotic performances with the singing of the national anthem.
For the Alsco Uniforms 300, Nashville singer Cash Crawford will perform the national anthem.
Honorary Race Director: Tennessee Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton will serve as the honorary race director for the Coca-Cola 600.
Invocation: S. Army Chaplain Stephen S. Townsend will say the invocation prior to the Coca-Cola 600.
Retired US Air Force Master Sgt. Monty Self is set to perform the invocation for the Alsco Uniforms 300.
NASCAR Salutes: As has become the beloved tradition for the Memorial Day weekend race, NASCAR will honor the military in a variety of ways prior to the Coca-Cola 600. United States Army officer Lt. Gen. Christopher T. Donahue will give the State of Freedom Address this year.
The 82nd Airborne Band continues the remembrance with “God Bless America,” “America the Beautiful” and “Carolina on My Min.” S. Army, Fort Bragg joins to give both an Aerial Blackhawk demonstration and Howitzer demonstration. The United States Army Band’s “Perishing’s Own” join the Armed Forces Color Guard for the presentation of colors.
The S. Army Ceremonial Guard continues the tradition with the small arms volley, and United States Coast Guard musician Joel W. Baroody will perform “Taps.“
About the author
Luken Glover arrived on the Frontstretch scene in 2020. He has been an avid NASCAR fan for the majority of his life, following in the footsteps of his grandfather, who used to help former team owner Junie Donlavey in his garage. Glover covers news for the site and took over "The Underdog House" column in 2021. In addition to being a college junior, his hobbies include volunteering at church, playing basketball and tennis, racing go-karts, and helping at his high school alma mater.
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