Having spent much of his life speeding around on pavement, Bubba Wallace turned his attention to the skies on Tuesday at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.
Continuing Charlotte Motor Speedway's Mission 600 - in conjunction with the Department of Defense in previewing the 60th running of the Coca-Cola 600 - the Coca-Cola Racing Family driver met with airmen, donned a full Air Force flight suit and took an orientation flight, code-named "Joust 43," aboard an F-15E Strike Eagle fighter jet.
Hosted by the 4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs, the Air Force-sponsored Richard Petty Motorsports driver received emergency egress and parachute training as well as cockpit familiarization before he arrived at the 333rd Fighter Squadron - whose pilots are known as the "Lancers" - for pre-flight briefing. Following his training, Wallace took to the air with fighter pilot Capt. John "Wraith" Tilton for a flight spanning from the Appalachian Mountains to the Outer Banks.
Along with Mission 600's thrilling build-up to the Coca-Cola 600, thousands of troops will join fans in the race-day festivities, which will include static military displays and interactive showcases in the Fan Zone. Additionally, 600 troops comprised of members from all five branches of the U.S. Armed Forces will be on the frontstretch during pre-race activities.
Mission 600 kicks off the festivities, with upcoming visits tentatively slated to feature Kyle Larson at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island on April 29; and Austin Dillon at U.S. Coast Guard Station Wrightsville Beach on April 30.
Through the speedway's "Patriot Partners" program, race fans or corporate customers can buy a ticket for a member of the U.S. Armed Forces for just $25. Tickets will be distributed to active-duty personnel and their families through the USO.
Prior to the green flag, ticketholders to the Coca-Cola 600 can also enjoy a FREE pre-race concert featuring Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Cheap Trick.
As part of the salute to the military, race fans are encouraged to use the hashtag #KnowYourMil.