Business, Sports Leaders Honor 10,000 Military Members And Their Families With
Special Celebration Luncheon At The Coca-Cola 600
Event Hosted by Papa John's Marks World's Largest Military Tribute at a
CONCORD, N.C., May 27, 2013
CONCORD, N.C., May 27, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --On the eve of Memorial Day, more
than 10,000 active duty military and family members were honored by Charlotte
Motor Speedway and business leaders from around the country prior to the
Coca-Cola 600, as part of a Memorial Day weekend saluting the U.S. Armed
Forces. The day of tribute featured a special celebration luncheon hosted by
John Schnatter, founder, chairman and CEO of Papa John's International, where
more than 3,000 pizzas were served to the military guests.
The star-studded affair was emceed by HLN's Robin Meade, and included special
appearances by Lt. Col. Oliver North (ret), a political commentator,
television host, military historian and New York Times best-selling author;
Willie Robertson, star of "Duck Dynasty;" Kurt Busch, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet; Clint Bowyer, NASCAR
Sprint Cup Series driver of the No. 15 5-Hour Energy Toyota; Marcus Smith,
president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway; Congressman Robert
Pittinger; NASCAR driver and television personality, Michael Waltrip; and Papa
John himself. The event was held at zMAX Dragway and also featured live music
and a drag racing exhibition with Smith, Papa John and Busch.
"We have been involved with the military for many, many years and we were
excited to partner with Charlotte Motor Speedway to honor the heroes of the
U.S. military and their families," said Schnatter. "This is just one small way
of saying 'thank you' for the sacrifice they and their families are making
every day to defend our freedom."
North shared his perspective on Memorial Day with the troops.
"This Memorial Day race is held here for these American heroes and that's what
they are – heroes," said North. "Normally people think of heroes as being
someone wearing spandex and a cape. My heroes wear flak jackets and helmets
and flight suits in difficult and dangerous places."
Hundreds of the troops were loaded onto buses courtesy of the speedway's
Patriot Partners program, where companies such as Toyota, Papa John's,
Goodyear, Coca-Cola, Bojangles' and more sponsored more than 30 Patriot
Partner buses to transport them from area military bases. Fans were able to
salute the troops as 600 soldiers marched through the grandstands as part of
the pre-race ceremonies. The show also included an air parade featuring 10
vintage warbirds, the flight of an American bald eagle during the national
anthem performed by Robin Meade and a 21-gun salute by the Fort Bragg firing
"I'm humbled. I'm honored. I'm a retired soldier. We didn't do a lot of this
when I was in the military," said John Falkenbury, president, USO of North
Carolina, which helped organize the event. "I think America has got it right
and it is just a phenomenal event. We are so appreciative of Papa John's and
Charlotte Motor Speedway who bent over backwards, not just for this event, but
for all races."
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SOURCE Charlotte Motor Speedway
Contact: Scott Cooper, Charlotte Motor Speedway, (704) 455-3209
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