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Ramsey Named Honorary Race Director of Coca-Cola 600

Press release from Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated; May 15, 2013:

CHARLOTTE, N.C.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–A United States senator, a lieutenant governor and a military hero will lead race fans in the commencement of the nation’s largest Memorial Day celebration as they serve as race officials for the 2013 Coca-Cola 600. Sgt. Aaron Causey will be Grand Marshal; U.S. Sen. Tim Scott will serve as Honorary Starter and Tennessee’s Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey will serve as Honorary Race Director for the 54th running of NASCAR’s only 600-mile race at the famed Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday, May 26.

“It is our pleasure to welcome these distinguished elected officials, as well as a military hero to the 2013 Coca-Cola 600,” said Lauren C. Steele, senior vice president, corporate affairs, Coca-Cola Consolidated. “It is exciting to have these state leaders to recognize America’s servicemen and women at the largest Memorial Day celebration in the country. We are honored to have a true American hero announce those famous words: ‘Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!’”

As race officials, Scott and Ramsey will be honored at a pre-race event, attend the official drivers meeting, address the crowd of more than 140,000 fans, participate in the pre-race spectacular and present the trophy to the winning driver in Victory Lane. As Grand Marshal, Causey will give the race command, while Scott will wave the green flag over the 43-car field to start NASCAR’s most challenging race. As Honorary Race Director, Ramsey will ride in an official pace car.

Causey graduated from EOD school at Eglin Air Force Base in August 2001 and was then stationed in Aviano, Italy. He served in Iraq in 2004 along with many other international missions during his years in Aviano. In 2006, he left the Air Force to continue working in EOD, transferring to the Army. He deployed to Iraq 2006-08 out of Fort Stewart, Ga., then was stationed in Mannheim, Germany 2008-10. Later in 2010, he was stationed at Fort Drum, NY and deployed to Afghanistan in March 2011. On Sept. 7, 2011, he was performing dismounted operations in an attempt to disarm a suspected IED when one detonated under him. He ultimately lost both legs above the knees, two fingers, suffered broken arms and hand injuries, shrapnel wounds over most of his upper body, loss of tissue, and multiple other serious injuries. He lives with his wife of three years, Kat. After recovery is complete, they intend to stay in the DC-metro area and build a new life together.

Scott is a U.S. senator representing the great state of South Carolina. His goal is simple: to positively affect the lives of the American people. That path has taken him from a successful small businessman, to being elected to Charleston County Council, the South Carolina State House, the U.S. House of Representatives, and now the U.S Senate.

Ramsey is serving his fourth term as Lt. Governor of Tennessee. A small businessman himself, he has become a leading voice for economic growth in his state and region. He and his wife, Sindy, live in Blountville.

Continuing its tradition as the biggest Memorial Day Weekend celebration in America, the Coca-Cola 600 pre-race show will pay tribute to veterans and active duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces. The Welcome Home Our Troops Coca-Cola 600 pre-race show will also include a performance of “I Will Give My All” by country music artist Jamie Tate and the 82nd Airborne All-American Chorus, a bagpipe performance of “Amazing Grace” by the Charlotte Fire Department Pipe Band and “Taps” played by a Fort Bragg bugler. There will also be a 21-gun salute from the Fort Bragg Firing Squad.

Coca-Cola has been involved with stock car racing for more than 50 years and has been the official sparkling beverage of NASCAR since 1998. Through its partnerships with International Speedway Corporation, Speedway Motorsports, Inc. and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Coca-Cola refreshes racing fans at the majority of NASCAR-sanctioned tracks. A signature part of the brand’s NASCAR association is the Coca-Cola Racing Family – a group of top drivers that include Greg Biffle, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Ryan Newman, Danica Patrick and Tony Stewart. The company also maintains relationships with Dale Jarrett, Bobby Labonte, Kyle Petty and Elliott Sadler. Coca-Cola Racing Family members make appearances and are featured in advertising, promotions and packaging.

Tickets for all May races at Charlotte Motor Speedway can be purchased online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com or by calling the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267). Fans can purchase two frontstretch tickets with excellent views of pit road and the world’s largest HDTV for just $99 to the May 26 Coca-Cola 600.

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Press Releases

TN Senate Designates May 13-20 ‘Jeff Byrd Week’

Press Release from the Office of Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, March 3, 2011:

(Nashville) March 3, 2011 – Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville) today spoke from the well of the state Senate following the reading of a resolution honoring his late friend, Jeff Byrd, the longtime president and general manager of Bristol Motor Speedway, with a week in his honor.

“Anybody who knew Jeff Byrd will never forget him,” said Ramsey. “I have never seen anyone become a member of a community as quickly as Jeff Byrd did in Bristol.”

“If Jeff Byrd had a fault, it was that he couldn’t say no,” Ramsey added. “He was always looking to help others and challenging those around him to do the same.”

The resolution, Senate Joint Resolution 89, designates March 13-20 as Jeff Byrd Week in Tennessee. Rep. Jon Lundberg (R- Bristol) also spoke from the well in honor of Mr. Byrd.

“I am sorry for those of you who didn’t know Jeff,” said Lundberg. “He inspired not only me but everyone he touched.”

Ramsey and Lundberg were joined in the well by Mr. Byrd’s widow Claudia Byrd, his sister JoJo Davis and daughter Benton Caldwell.

“He wouldn’t like the attention,” said Mrs. Byrd said of her husband. “But he would be humbled and honored by this great recognition.”

The resolution, once passed, will be framed and presented to the family prior to the annual spring race at the Bristol Motor Speedway. Longtime sponsor Food City has renamed the March 20 race the Jeff Byrd 500.

Following a career as a sportswriter at the Winston-Salem Journal, Byrd moved to the sports marketing department of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company eventually rising to the level of vice-president of business development before departing to become vice-president and general manager of the speedway.

In 2002, Byrd was promoted to president and general manager and under his direction the race track grew from 67,000 to 160,000 seats eventually becoming what some describe as a “Roman coliseum” of racing.

In addition to serving as an elder at the First Presbyterian in Kingsport, Byrd was active in numerous civic and charitable organizations. Byrd along with his wife started the Bristol Chapter of Speedway Children’ Charities, a non-profit agency dedicated to aiding children in need in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.

The full resolution honoring Byrd can be seen here.

Video from today’s session can be viewed at this link:

http://tnsenate.com/_blog/From_the_Floor/post/Lt_Gov_Ramsey_honors_late_racing_executive/

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Former NASCAR Champ Endorses Haslam for Governor

Press Release from Bill Haslam for Governor; Aug. 18, 2010:

Waltrip Cites Haslam’s Proven Leadership as the Right Experience to be Governor

NASHVILLE – Former NASCAR driver and three-time Winston Cup Champion Darrell Waltrip today endorsed Republican gubernatorial nominee and Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam in his campaign for Tennessee Governor.

Waltrip’s endorsement comes three days before Haslam presides as the Grand Marshal of the Food City 250 on Saturday, Aug. 21 at the Bristol Motor Speedway. A Haslam campaign TV commercial featuring Waltrip will be focused around the Bristol race weekend.

The ad will premiere on Haslam’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/TeamHaslam, at 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. CDT tonight.

In his endorsement, Waltrip emphasized Bill Haslam’s success in running both a smaller and smarter government in Knoxville and his experience creating jobs.

“I see Bill Haslam’s outstanding record as a businessman as a sure and necessary qualification to be Tennessee’s next governor,” Waltrip said. “The next Tennessee governor faces difficult challenges with unique opportunities, and Bill Haslam is the candidate with the right experience to lead our state now.”

“As a former driver, I know a thing or two about endurance, and I greatly admire the endurance, energy and enthusiasm he has shown on the campaign trail as he discusses his ideas to make our state better,” Waltrip added.

Winner of the Daytona 500 and 84 different NASCAR Winston Cup races, Darrell Waltrip competed in hundreds of races spanning nearly three decades. Waltrip was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2005 and named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998. Recently, Waltrip was nominated for the 2011 class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. He currently resides in Franklin, Tenn. where he owns a number of auto dealerships.

“Darrell Waltrip has undoubtedly had an incredible impact on the sport of NASCAR, but more importantly, he’s involved with and cares deeply for his community and those in it,” Haslam said. “I look forward to having his support on the trail as Crissy and I campaign through Nov. 2.”

Mayor Haslam is the two-term Republican Mayor of Knoxville, reelected in 2007 with 87 percent of the vote. A hardworking, conservative public servant, Haslam led Knoxville to become one of the top ten metropolitan areas for business and expansion, while reducing the city’s debt, tripling the rainy day fund, reducing the number of city employees to the lowest amount in 15 years and bringing property taxes to the lowest rate in 50 years.  An executive leader with a proven record of success, he helped grow his family’s small business from 800 employees into one of Tennessee’s largest companies with 14,000 employees. For more information on Bill Haslam, please visit www.BillHaslam.com.