"Spanky" Gibson to Give Coke 600 Race Command
Thursday, May 26, 2011
A military hero will be yelling, "Gentlemen, start your engines!" at the upcoming NASCAR race. Marine Master Sgt. William "Spanky" Gibson, the first above-the-knee amputee to return to combat, will give the race command for the 52nd Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend.
In May 2006, Gibson lost his left leg in a sniper attack while serving on the front lines with his fellow Marines in Iraq. Although he sustained a devastating injury, Gibson continued to fight back. When he returned home, he trained heavily, learning to walk, run and swim with a prosthetic leg, which led him to participate in the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon. It was Gibson’s determination that got him back to active duty, which was another deployment to Iraq – an offer he eagerly accepted. Currently, Gibson works at the Pentagon.
“Paying tribute to America’s military has become part of the Memorial Day weekend tradition as thousands of fans gather for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway,” said Ben Reiling, Director, Sports Marketing, Coca-Cola North America. “By recognizing a true hero like Master Sgt. William “Spanky” Gibson, Coca-Cola is inviting racing fans everywhere to join together in celebrating all of America’s dedicated service members.”
The president of USO North Carolina, John Falkenbury, will join Gibson to deliver the race command at the Coca-Cola 600. Another special guest joining Gibson is his father, William Gibson, Sr., who is a Vietnam War veteran and will be celebrating his 71st birthday at the race.
Coca-Cola, racing fans and the USO will be honoring the bravery and valor of veterans and all U.S. service men and women. The pre-race show will feature a presentation by Special Operations soldiers of Fort Bragg, N.C., an onstage recognition of Medal of Honor recipients, a grand presentation of an 11,250 square foot American flag and a flyover by military aircraft.
Tune in to FOX on Sunday, May 29 at 5:30 p.m. ET to enjoy the pre-race “salute to the troops” show, which includes a viewing of the latest PSA from the USO, and live race coverage of the 52nd Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Members of the military can purchase specially priced race tickets directly from Charlotte Motor Speedway. Interested members with a military identification number can contact the speedway’s ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS(3267).
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