CONCORD, N.C. — Charlotte Motor Speedway kicked off its 60th anniversary celebration with a press conference Monday afternoon, where officials detailed some of the major attractions for the upcoming season.
The schedule at Charlotte Motor Speedway includes a number of major events, highlighted by the 60th running of the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 24. Other events on the schedule include the NASCAR All-Star Race, the World of Outlaws World Finals, two visits by the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and the fall NASCAR weekend on the ROVAL infield road course.
“I’ve had on my desk the last eight months a replica of the first program,” said Greg Walter, executive vice president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway. “There is a letter in the cover from (Bruton Smith) and he talks about all the construction going on. They were right up to the wire getting things ready.
“In that letter, the last phrase of it, he says we have done all of this with this in mind, Charlotte Motor Speedway, it’s for everyone,” Walter continued.
Walter emphasized that the goal of the speedway is to entertain fans and he believes the lineup for the upcoming season will do that in spades.
“Taking care of the fans, working for the fans and most importantly, entertaining them,” Walter said.
With that in mind, Walter and Speedway Motorsports CEO Marcus Smith made a number of small announcements related to the upcoming season.
The biggest of those announcements was that any fan who purchases a ticket for the NASCAR All-Star Race on May 16 will also get access to the pits free of charge. Each ticket will also give fans access to the pre-race concert, which will feature country music artist Chris Janson.
“Every fan who buys a ticket to that race will have a chance to get out on the new synthetic turf, get right up close for the concert, be there for trackside live and enjoy what this day is all about,” Walter said. “We’re going to make this special for the fans with the All-Star Race.”
Another major announcement officials made is related to Pennzoil AutoFair on April 2-5. Elvis Presley’s pink-and-white 1955 Cadillac, the car most associated with the famous musician and actor, will be on display during Pennzoil AutoFair. Other than a trip to London in 2015, it will be the first time the car has been displayed anywhere other than Presley’s Graceland outside of Memphis, Tenn., which opened for tours in 1982.
“In my household there is no greater entertainer in the world than Elvis Presley,” Walter said. “This car has not been outside of Graceland in the United States ever. This will be the first time for fans to be able to see this car. It is the car that he toured around the United States with when he first got started.”
Also announced Monday was that Robert Irvine, a celebrity chef, author, philanthropist and military enthusiast, has increased his investment in motorsports by developing a premier menu for race fans to enjoy during the Coca-Cola 600 on May 24 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Irvine’s food will also be featured on race weekends at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Sonoma Raceway and Texas Motor Speedway throughout the 2020 NASCAR season.
“I’ve got to tell you, I came here for the Coke 600 and I cried for probably most of it,” said Irvine, who is a major supporter of the armed forces. “The people know me very well, I’m the tough guy on TV, but when you come here and you serve the men and women who wear the cloth of our nation and the gold star families, it’s a testament to what Charlotte Motor Speedway and what SMI are doing to highlight these folks.”
Speaking of the speedway’s dedication to the military, Charlotte Motor Speedway officials will also have the honor of laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider on April 15 in Washington, D.C.
“This year we have been allowed the privilege of laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider. There is no greater place that represents the sacrifices that have been made than Arlington Cemetery. So on April 15 we will be laying a wreath,” Walter said. “We are incredibly humbled that the Department of Defense will allow us to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider.”
Lastly, speedway officials announced they are upgrading the infield go-kart track at the facility.