The 2021 edition of NASCAR Salutes Together with Coca-Cola, the sport’s annual initiative honoring those in the U.S. Armed Forces and their families, will begin this weekend at Kansas Speedway and continue through the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Memorial Day weekend.
As part of this year’s platform, U.S. Naval Officer and NASCAR driver Jesse Iwuji will become an ambassador for Coca-Cola and host many of the NASCAR Salutes events.
NASCAR and Coca-Cola will highlight stories of service members from local bases in partnership with the USO, as well as host at-track and virtual experiences led by Iwuji for military families through Troops to the Track.
NASCAR Salutes will also be highlighted as part of a new pre-race show for NASCAR.com hosted by Iwuji and Kim Coon, which launches with this weekend’s action at Kansas.
“The NASCAR industry takes tremendous pride in honoring those who serve our country, along with their families and communities,” NASCAR vice president of partnership marketing Michelle Byron said in a press release. “It’s impossible to describe their sacrifices to protect and support our communities throughout the past year during the pandemic – it’s our privilege to recognize them through NASCAR Salutes annually.”
“Coca-Cola is proud to support and honor the sacrifice and service of all military members and their families in partnership with NASCAR,” Coca-Cola North America director of sports marketing Chris Bigda added. “We are excited to welcome Jesse as a Coca-Cola ambassador to help bring communities together that share an appreciation for our military and the love of racing.”
The Coca-Cola 600 will once again feature all NASCAR Cup Series race cars bearing the name of a fallen service member on the windshield. Additionally, NASCAR and Coca-Cola will host Gold Star Families during the weekend.
Other NASCAR Salutes activities include:
- At Kansas Speedway and Darlington Raceway, as part of NASCAR Troops to the Track Hosted by Coca-Cola, active servicemembers from local bases will receive grandstand tickets.
- In support of NASCAR Salutes, Charlotte Motor Speedway is again hosting its annual Mission 600 as a prelude to its pre-race salute to the troops prior to the Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day weekend. This year’s program includes a mix of virtual and in-person experiences to connect members of the Coca-Cola Racing Family and other drivers with military bases.
- M&M’s will provide 100 tickets to active-duty service members and their families from Fort Hood as a part of their partnership with Operation Gratitude during NASCAR’s debut weekend at Circuit of the Americas.
- For more than 10 years, Goodyear has transformed its NASCAR race tires by replacing its iconic “Eagle” sidewall design with a message to honor America’s military. In 2021, for the third season, Goodyear will feature “Honor and Remember,” in recognition of the organization that worked closely with the industry for “600 Miles of Remembrance” to honor military lives lost while serving.
- Through a new special at-track experience in partnership with Coca-Cola, the USO and Charlotte Motor Speedway, a group of service members and their families will have the opportunity to learn to race simulators from eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series competitors. The simulators will then be donated to the USO.
- During the NASCAR Xfinity Series Alsco Uniforms 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Xfinity, a Proud Premier Partner, will display red, white and blue Xfinity windshield headers on their race cars to showcase their company’s commitment to hiring 21,000 veterans, National Guard and reserve service members, and military spouses who bring unique skills and experiences to Comcast NBCUniversal.
- During Memorial Day weekend, Camping World will celebrate with red, white and blue windshield decals on all trucks racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Camping World is a strong supporter of all military branches and proudly displays 3,200 square foot American flags at its nationwide retail locations.