NASCAR Drivers Meet the Grill: Lowe's Plays Host to Coca-Cola Quarter-Mile Cookout
You know those famous words that send chills to drivers, teams, and fans at the races?
Well, try pitting some of NASCAR's top drivers with some of the culinary world's top chefs, and 5000 fans at a top-notch racing facility with 7000 pounds of charcoal and a grilling area that would be the length of four football-fields.
Ladies and gentlemen, start your grills!
Courtesy of John Reinan, the Senior Director of Media Relations for Fast Horse and Worth Canoy, who took these excellent shots of the drivers, chefs, and fans at the track, I'll take you on a photographic tour of Friday's inaugural Coca-Cola Quarter-Mile Cookout!
Talk about a tasty burnout...
While the racing action was dormant at Lowe's Motor Speedway, the command to fire up some grills was certainly given, just by a quick glance at the numerous fans, volunteers, and culinary celebrities who were present at the Concord, NC track along pit road.
Held from 11 in the morning through two in the afternoon, the event was open for ticket holders and those with credentials for the Coca-Cola 600 racing weekend.
Foods like hot dogs, hamburgers and steaks were prepared, as well as Food Lion potato chips, and a couple of products from Betty Crocker like their Suddenly Salad pasta salad, and their Original Supreme brownies.
If you recognize the gentleman wearing the great shades in the white chef's tunic, that is none other than Food Network's star chef Tyler Florence.
Originally known for his acclaimed program, Food 911, Florence, assisted by over 100 chefs from Levy Restaurants, and some familiar faces in the NASCAR racing scene treated the fans to a delectable afternoon.
Enjoy the meal with a Coke and smile, my friend!
A lucky racing fan is given a delicious treat by Florence in what appears to be one of those typical hot, summer North Carolina days.
With summer approaching and the escape from the heat and humidity on the minds of some families across the States, there's nothing like a good ol' treat and beverage to enjoy when those lazy days of June, July, and August hit the calendar.
Not your everyday cook.
When you head to the race track, be it on a breezy spring day or a sweltering afternoon where hydration and hunger must be satisfied, you want the best of foods and beverages to be at your disposal.
Just imagine if Florence was the head chef at every race for the top three NASCAR touring series. Here he is getting ready to demonstrate to the spectators about the meals he will prepare, grill, and treat.
Crank it up!
Fire may be a driver's biggest enemy when they're on the track, but for a chef and grilling enthusiast, there's nothing like the flames meeting the charcoal for those summer time treats.
Petty, Labonte, and Florence show the fans that they can handle the fire with the start of the cookout event. The question of whether drivers are athletes or not is one thing, but when it comes to courage with the flame, they sure have that.
Florence and some speedy assistants.
Normally, Florence cooks solo when he prepares his top notch meals in front of television audiences. But on Friday, he had a little help from his NASCAR friends.
Third-generation Cup racer and current NASCAR on TNT color commentator Kyle Petty and 2000 NASCAR Cup titlist Bobby Labonte, members of the Coca-Cola Racing Family, assist Florence with the steaks for the fans. Speed and efficiency can be found here!
The event was an acknowledgment to the start of cookout season. Memorial Day weekend for race fans and families across the United States not only means an amazing motorsports weekend, but it also marks the beginning of family and friend get-togethers by the grill and backyard.
Making the cut with a chef and the 1987 Coca-Cola 600 winner.
Kyle Petty is no stranger to success at Lowe's Motor Speedway, having won the '87 Coca-Cola World 600 for the Wood Brothers in the famed No. 21 Citgo Ford and his infamous runner-up finish in the '92 All-Star Race by the start/finish line that you can see just behind Petty, Labonte, and Florence.
But with steak? Heck, why not! While he may not be competing on the track these days, his presence at the races is definitely still strong with his television work for Speed and TNT.
Labonte watches the two learn the fine art of making precise cuts to the steaks just prepared in this photo.
Clint, are you going to eat it or serve it?
Appearing a bit unsure in this picture, Bowyer holds this appetizer that is waiting to be enjoyed by either a race fan...or by the defending and 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series champion himself! Make up your mind, Bowyer!
Are they considering a second job?
Clint Bowyer fans, don't fret! Your driver from Emporia, KS is not going anywhere.
While he's been giving the new No. 33 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Chevrolet a good campaign in 2009 as Chase contender material, he's certainly enjoying himself as an honorary celebrity chef in this inaugural event.
According to John Reinan of Fast Horse, the feast and foods served at this event were free. Deemed a success by Reinan, it's pretty evident, by the photographs seen in the slide, that you could say that another cookout in the future may be a "sure-fire thing" in the works!
My thanks to Reinan of Fast Horse and the photographers at Worth Canoy for the heads-up about the event, along with the information and great photos that comprised this entertaining slide.