Three North Carolinians took part in an ‘awesome’ night on Friday at the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Mike Beach, a resident of Morganton and the Grand Marshal, said he used to come to the Speedway all the time but he had not been back since 2013 when he won the prize of being the Honorary Starter at the NCEL 200.
“I’m so lucky to win again,” Beach said. “I flipped out. It’s a real honor.”
As the Grand Marshal, Beach had the honor of saying the four most famous words in racing: “Drivers, start your engines.”
Thomas Martin, a Spring Lake resident and this year’s Honorary Starter, said he couldn’t believe it when he got the phone call alerting him that he won.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be able to do something like this,” he said.
After waving the green flag, Martin called it an incredible experience.
Steve Francis, a Raleigh resident and the Pace Car Passenger, entered the drawing because he wanted to get a chance to experience an auto race.
“We are open to the excitement and opportunity of trying new things,” Francis said. “This is just icing on the cake.”
Francis said his wife Diane, who rode in the pace car with him, is the bigger race fan of the two of them.
“I’m a major thrill seeker,” she said.
After their pace car ride, Steve and Diane both agreed on one thing.
“That was awesome,” they said.
In addition to their special VIP roles, the winners received pit passes, a tour of the driver’s garage, and access to the pit suites for a bird’s eye view of the race.
Check out this cool video documenting the race and the Pace Car Passenger experience.
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