Saturday, May 28, 2011

Race Command For The 52nd Coca-Cola 600 To Be Delivered By Heroic Marine Who Returned To Combat After Losing Leg



Master Sgt. William "Spanky" Gibson, First Above-the-Knee Amputee to Go
Back to Battlefield, Will Give "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines" Command
at Charlotte Motor Speedway

CHARLOTTE, N.C., May 28, 2011 - Even in a long line of American
military heroes, Master Sgt. William "Spanky" Gibson stands out. He's
the first service member to return to the front lines after losing a leg
above the knee.

Coca-Cola and racing fans around the country will pay tribute to
Gibson's unmatched heroism and the unending service of the entire U.S.
military during the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway this
Memorial Day weekend.

Gibson is delivering the command for the 52nd running of the
Coca-Cola 600 (May 29, 6 p.m. on FOX) as a guest of Coca-Cola. Joining
Gibson in delivering the most famous words in motorsports will be John
Falkenbury, president of the North Carolina chapter of the USO, the
organization that brings a touch of home to American service members
around the globe.

Gibson's military service is a story of strength, determination,
and unwavering commitment to country and colleagues. In May 2006, while
serving with the Marines in Iraq, Gibson and fellow service members on
patrol in Ramadi came under sniper attack. Gibson was struck in the left
knee. Despite a devastating injury, he continued to return fire.

Back in the United States, Gibson never lost focus of his goal
to return to battle. Fitted with a prosthetic leg, he learned to walk,
run, ski and swim. After competing in the grueling Escape from Alcatraz
Triathlon, his commanders offered him a return stint in Iraq - a
deployment Gibson eagerly accepted.

Gibson, who now works at the Pentagon, will be joined at the
track by his family, including his father, William Gibson, Sr., a
Vietnam War veteran who will be celebrating his 71st birthday on race
day.

"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."

In addition to honoring Gibson, Coca-Cola 600 festivities will
pay tribute to all veterans and active U.S. military servicemen and
women. The spectacular pre-race show will include a military assault
demonstration by Special Operations soldiers from Ft. Bragg, N.C.,
on-stage recognition of Medal of Honor recipients, the unfurling of an
11,250 square-foot American flag by family members of active-duty
soldiers, and an inspiring flyover by military aircraft.

Tickets for Troops

Coca-Cola and North Carolina-based Coca-Cola Consolidated are
partnering to provide 600 tickets to troops stationed at area bases. The
companies have purchased the tickets through a program called  Let the
Troops Race, which gives individuals and companies the chance to
purchase tickets for just $20 to send a member of the U.S. armed forces
to the Memorial Day Weekend race.

In addition, Charlotte Motor Speedway offers specially priced
race tickets to all members of the U.S. armed forces who wish to
purchase tickets directly. Military personnel can contact the ticket
office at 1-800-455-FANS and supply a military identification number for
specific details.

Coca-Cola and NASCAR

The Coca-Cola 600 is the longest continuous race sponsorship in
NASCAR. 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 includes Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer,
Kurt Busch, Jeff Burton, Denny Hamlin, Bobby Labonte, Joey Logano, Jamie
McMurray, Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart and alumni drivers Dale Jarrett, Ned
Jarrett, Kyle Petty and Michael Waltrip. Coca-Cola Racing Family members
make appearances and are featured in advertising, promotions and
packaging.

About The Coca-Cola Company

The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) is the world's largest beverage
company, refreshing consumers with more than 500 sparkling and still
brands.  The Company's portfolio includes 15 billion dollar brands,
including Coca-Cola, recognized as the world's most valuable brand, as
well as Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola Zero, vitaminwater,
Powerade, Minute Maid, Simply and Georgia. Globally, we are the No. 1
provider of sparkling beverages, juices and juice drinks and
ready-to-drink teas and coffees. Through the world's largest beverage
distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy the
Company's beverages at a rate of 1.7 billion servings a day. With an
enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our Company is
focused on initiatives that protect the environment, conserve resources
and enhance the economic development of the communities where we
operate. For more information about our Company, please visit our
website at www.thecoca-colacompany.com.

About the USO

The USO (United Service Organizations) lifts the spirits of America's
armed forces and their families. We provide a touch of home to troops
wherever they serve through centers at airports and military bases
around the world, top quality entertainment and innovative programs and
services tailored to meet the needs of troops and their families. The
USO is not a government agency and relies on the generosity of the
American people. The USO is also supported by Worldwide Strategic
Partners AT&T Inc., BAE Systems, The Boeing Company, Clear Channel
Communications, The Coca-Cola Company, Gallery Furniture, Lockheed
Martin, Microsoft Corporation, Northrop Grumman Corporation, S & K Sales
Co. and TriWest Healthcare Alliance. Other corporate donors, including
the United Way and Combined Federal Campaign (CFC-11381), have joined
millions of individual donors to support the USO.  For more information,
please visit www.uso.org.

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