DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – John Schnatter, also known as “Papa John,” the Founder and CEO, for Papa John’s pizza restaurants, will serve as Honorary Starter for the 51st annual Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Saturday, July 4 at Daytona International Speedway.

Schnatter will wave the green flag for the 43-car field from the starter’s stand and kick off the racing action in the Independence Day holiday classic.

“Papa John's and Coca-Cola have been partners for 25 years and we are pleased to have John serve as Honorary Starter for The Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola,” Daytona International Speedway President Robin Braig said. “All race fans in attendance and the millions more watching on TNT will be anxiously waiting for ‘Papa John’ to wave the green flag for one of NASCAR’s most exciting nighttime spectacles.”

At the age of 22, Schnatter knocked out the broom closet in his father's tavern, sold his prized 1972 Z28 Camaro, purchased $1,600 worth of used restaurant equipment and began delivering pizzas out of the back of the bar.

Papa John's opened its first pizza restaurant in 1984 and today is the world’s third largest pizza company with more than 3,400 restaurants world wide.

Tickets for the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola on Saturday night, July 4 are available on your web-enabled phone at, online at or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.