Daniel Suárez, Crew Chief Matt Swiderski Kick Off 2024 Mission 600 with 82nd Airborne Division

In advance of the 65th running of the Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day Weekend, Charlotte Motor Speedway launched its 2024 Mission 600 campaign Wednesday, visiting the 82nd Airborne at Fort Liberty, with Coca-Cola Racing Family driver Daniel Suárez and his Trackhouse Racing crew chief Matt Swiderski.

Now in its seventh year, Mission 600 pairs NASCAR drivers with regional military bases in an effort to educate the NASCAR community about the day-to-day lives of the men and women who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces and to build meaningful connections between the worlds of motorsports and the military.

“We are so thankful for these guys; if it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have the freedoms that we are able to enjoy,” said Suárez. “To be able to spend some time here and be able to learn about what they do, how they do it, their specialties, the guns, everything, it’s mind-blowing.

“The guns, to shoot, all that stuff is cool. But the coolest part is to get to know them. Like, who are these individuals? What do they do on a weekly basis? How did they got to this point? Obviously, I have so much respect for them. Some of them have been here for 29 years. That’s half a lifetime. It’s quite impressive, and I have learned a lot from these men and women today.”

As part of Mission 600, Suárez and Swiderski, alongside Charlotte Motor Speedway Executive Vice President and General Manager Greg Walter, spent the day learning about the equipment and training that members of the 82nd Airborne receive. The trio toured Fort Liberty in Infantry Squad Vehicles and fired an M119A3 Howitzer, a 105mm weapon that uses a six-man team – much like a NASCAR pit crew – to aim and fire. The group also dined with service members in Fort Liberty’s Warrior Restaurant and participated in live-fire exercises with an M4 Carbine. The exercises, designed to simulate shooting in combat environments, are aimed at testing a soldier’s ability to calm themselves after rigorous activity.

“It’s amazing (shooting a Howitzer). You don’t really know what to expect when you pull the handle, probably one of the coolest experiences I’ve had,” Swiderski said. “You try to appreciate what all these people do and the families behind these people. You come out here and actually get to meet them and see their personalities, it’s really impressive what they put on the line and how hard they work to protect our families.”

Fort Liberty is the largest military installation by population in the U.S., providing the infrastructure and training that enables a ready, capable force to fight and win the nation’s wars. The 82nd Airborne Division is America’s immediate response force – ready to deploy and answer the nation’s call in 18 hours.

At Charlotte Motor Speedway, Memorial Day Weekend provides the opportunity to pay tribute to the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces, particularly those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. With the support of the U.S. Department of Defense, the patriotic Coca-Cola 600 pre-race show includes representation from all six major branches of the military.

“The Sunday before Memorial Day is the greatest day in racing, but we also want to be sure that we set the right tone and timber – that we’re on the eve of Memorial Day, which is a very solemn holiday for us as Americans,” Walter said. “We actually pause the race halfway for a moment of remembrance. The fact that we have the 600 Miles of Remembrance, where the name of a fallen service man or woman is on the windshield. We have Gold Star Families there and we love on them. Our fans appreciate the words of service, and duty and sacrifice. It sets the right tone, and our fans appreciate that.”


Fans can purchase tickets online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com or by calling the ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267). Admission to BetMGM Speed Street concerts by fan-favorite cover band Hairball (Friday) and country star Kameron Marlowe (Saturday) is free with any race ticket. Sunday’s pre-race concert by MatchBox20 is free with purchase of a Coca-Cola 600 race ticket.


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