Event featuring 1,320-ft grill celebrates the official start of summer BBQ season

Celebrity Chef Tyler Florence joins NASCAR® drivers to serve up free food and fun for race fans


Concord, N.C., May 6, 2009 – Ladies and gentlemen, start your grills!  Coca-Cola will ignite the summer BBQ season Memorial Day weekend by firing up the nation’s longest grill at the site of NASCAR’s longest race, the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.

            Requiring more than 7,000 pounds of Kingsford® Charcoal, the monster-sized ring of fire will measure an astonishing 1,320 feet – spanning more than four football fields in length if stretched end to end.  The colossal grill will be used to cook up a feast for fans attending the “Coca-Cola Quarter-Mile Cookout” on Friday, May 22. 

“Nothing goes better on a hot summer day than a great meal and the delicious taste of an ice-cold   Coca-Cola,” says Bill Kelly, Sr. Vice President, Coke Trademark Brands.  “We think the ‘Coca-Cola Quarter-Mile Cookout’ is the perfect way to mark the official kickoff of summer.”  

The oval-shaped quarter-mile grill – assembled on part of the racetrack’s frontstretch and pit
road – will be manned by celebrity chef and Food Network star Tyler Florence, host of “Tyler’s Ultimate” and author of “
Dinner at My Place” and “Stirring the Pot.”  Joining Chef Florence will be some of NASCAR’s most popular drivers, including Clint Bowyer, Bobby Labonte, Kyle Petty, and racing legend Bobby Allison, all of whom will trade their firesuits for “track aprons” as they help grill up lunch for thousands of fans.

The event is free and open to all ticket and annual credential holders for the historic 50th running of the Coca-Cola 600.  The action will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the racetrack near the Speedway’s start/finish line.  The menu will feature hamburgers and hotdogs, along with Betty Crocker® Suddenly Salad® pasta salads and Betty Crocker Original Supreme brownies.

Entertainment will include Q&A sessions with Chef Florence and the NASCAR® drivers in attendance, as well as prize giveaways and cool photo opportunities with the actual Coca-Cola-sponsored 1969 Mercury Cycloneâ Bobby Allison drove to a victory in the 1971 Coca-Cola 600, and the Toyota Camry Hybrid pace car that will lead the field on May 24.

"Throughout our celebration of our 50th year, we've created new ways to add value for our ticketholders," said Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Lowe's Motor Speedway. "This will be a terrific family event for our Coca-Cola 600 customers and a chance for both the speedway and Coca-Cola to thank them for their loyal support."

For those looking to host their own family barbeques this summer, a collection of free recipes, grilling tips and suggestions created by Chef Florence will be available at beginning May 11.  Also included on the website are summer party planning tips, shopping lists, suggestions for fun backyard games and much more.  A special section will showcase favorite foods enjoyed by the Coca-Cola Racing Family of NASCAR drivers when grilling at home or at the racetrack.

“Like many Americans, Memorial Day weekend marks the official start of the summer grilling season for me and my family, so I’m excited about kicking it off in a big way this year with Coca-Cola,” said Chef Tyler Florence.  “Although most cookouts don’t include the excitement of a quarter-mile grill, the same principles apply whether you’re feeding thousands or just a few friends.  The tips, recipes and other resources I’ve put together for will help people create a successful backyard barbeque of any size this summer.” 

In time for Memorial Day weekend, a Coca-Cola limited-edition summer collector can series will arrive on store shelves.  For the first time, five different designs synonymous with summertime – including a BBQ grill, surfboard, beach ball, sunglasses and stars & stripes – will be featured on packaging for summer’s iconic refreshment, Coca-Cola.  New designs will debut every few weeks through Labor Day.  Consumers also can take advantage of convenient summer grilling bundles featuring savings on some of America’s favorite brands at summer-themed Coca-Cola displays in participating supermarkets and convenience stores across the U.S.   

The Coca-Cola 600 is the longest continuous race sponsorship in NASCAR®.  Traditionally the     Coca-Cola 600 attracts approximately 180,000 fans to Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Memorial Day weekend.  This year’s race will be broadcast live on FOXâ at 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 24.  Tickets for the Coca-Cola 600 are available online at or by calling 1-800-455-FANS.

Coca-Cola is the Official Sparkling Beverage of NASCAR®. A signature part of Coca-Cola’s innovative NASCAR® program is the Coca-Cola Racing Family – a group of top drivers that includes Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Bobby Labonte, Jamie McMurray, Kyle Petty, David Ragan, Elliott Sadler, Tony Stewart, Michael Waltrip, Aric Almirola and Joey Logano.  


About The Coca-Cola Company

The Coca-Cola Company is the world’s largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with nearly 500 sparkling and still brands. Along with Coca-Cola, recognized as the world’s most valuable brand, the Company’s portfolio includes 12 other billion dollar brands, including Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola Zero, vitaminwater, POWERADE, Minute Maid and Georgia Coffee. 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 nearly 1.6 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 Web site at

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