Retired United States Army General Wesley Clark will serve as the Grand Marshal for the 59th annual Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola, the Independence Day holiday weekend classic scheduled for Saturday night, July 1 at Daytona International Speedway.
The Coke Zero 400, one of the most exciting night races on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule, will begin at 7:30 p.m. (TV – NBC; Radio – MRN Radio, SiriusXM) following Clark delivering the famous “Drivers, start your engines” command to the 40-car field. In addition to giving the command, Clark will ride in one of the Grand Marshal cars during pace laps prior to the green flag of the 160-lap, 400-mile race and attend the drivers meeting.
“In front of the stars of NASCAR and thousands of race fans in attendance, we look forward to General Wesley Clark’s starting command as Grand Marshal for the Coke Zero 400,” Daytona International Speedway President Chip Wile said. “It’s an honor to host a decorated veteran such as General Clark on a patriotic weekend in which we salute all of our military for their service to our country.”
In 38 years of service in the U.S. Army, Clark rose to the rank of four-star general as NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander, Europe. He retired from the military in 2000 and was a Democratic candidate for President of the United States in 2003. Today, General Clark participates in several international and domestic organizations, he serves as Chairman and CEO of Wesley K. Clark Associates, and sits on the Board of Directors for Growth Energy, a trade association that supports ethanol producers and promotes American Ethanol as an official partner of NASCAR.
Clark graduated first in his class at West Point and completed degrees in philosophy, politics and economics at Oxford University (B.A. and M.A.) as a Rhodes Scholar. While serving in Vietnam, he commanded an infantry company in combat where he was severely wounded and evacuated home. He has commanded at the battalion, brigade and division level, and served in a number of significant staff positions. He finished his career as NATO commander and Supreme Allied Commander Europe where he led NATO forces to victory in Operation Allied Force.
His awards include the President Medal of Freedom, Defense Distinguished Service Medal (five awards), silver star, bronze star, purple heart, honorary knighthoods from the British and Dutch governments, and numerous other awards from other governments, including award of Commander of the Legion of Honor (France).
Tickets for the June 29 – July 1 Coke Zero 400 Weekend Powered By Coca-Cola can be purchased online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP. Fans can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Snapchat, and by downloading Daytona International Speedway’s mobile app, for the latest news throughout the season.