Charlotte Motor Speedway will kick off the Coca-Cola 600 on May 26 in the most Charlotte way possible:
Charlotte Flair — eight-time WWE women’s champion, daughter of Ric Flair, and current Charlotte resident — will trade her wrestling uniform for a firesuit during Memorial Day Weekend, to serve as the honorary pace car driver for the longest race in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
“Instead of a takedown, I’ll be putting the hammer down,” she says in a cheeky promotional video, which ends with her belting out her (and her “Nature Boy” father’s) famous “Woooooooo!”
The 33-year-old Providence High School graduate will join a list of honorary pace car drivers that includes Larry the Cable Guy, who helped the drivers warm up before the race officially began in 2011, and former Carolina Panthers outside linebacker Thomas Davis, who pulled duty in 2015.
There’s a little bit of a business tie-in here that may have helped grease the wheels for this to happen: The Coca-Cola 600 will be televised on Fox, which will become the new broadcast home for “WWE SmackDown Live” this fall.
“SmackDown’s” previous TV deal was with the USA network; in fact, Charlotte Flair’s last big public appearance in her hometown was during a “SmackDown” event on Feb. 26, when she lost her SmackDown women’s championship challenge against Asuka at Spectrum Center in uptown. (That match was staged for fans in attendance only, and wasn’t part of the evening’s broadcast.)
For more information about the Coca-Cola 600 or the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race tickets (to be held the day before, on Saturday, May 25), visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com or call 1-800-455-3267.