Jeff Gordon, Kyle Larson honor nation’s war dead, place wreath at Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Nascar stars Jeff Gordon and Kyle Larson took a moment from the preparations for the upcoming Coca-Cola 600 race to pay tribute to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

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Gordon and Larson paid a visit to Arlington National Cemetery and placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

They were accompanied by Speedway Motorsports President and CEO Marcus Smith, Charlotte Motor Speedway Executive Vice President and General Manager Greg Walter and Rep. Richard Hudson (R. - N.C.), who represents the district that contains both Charlotte Motor Speedway and Fort Bragg.

Larson is the reigning champion of the Coca-Cola 600 and one of the honors of winning that race is to visit the cemetery where the remains of 400,000 individuals, including men and women who served the U.S. in every conflict starting with the American Revolution, are interred.

“I’ve never been here before. Seeing the ceremony for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was truly special – a huge honor. There is so much prestige with the 600. Then having a tradition like this just adds on to that,” Larson said.

Charlotte Motor Speedway pays tribute to the nation’s military dead during a pre-race show at the Coca-Cola 600. The ceremony includes representatives from each branch of the military.

“The whole program for Mission 600 is really an opportunity to celebrate our troops, to celebrate every part of the Armed Forces and to take a special moment to celebrate those who made the ultimate sacrifice. With NASCAR’s entire NASCAR Salutes program, the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway serve as the crowning moment to celebrate NASCAR Nation’s love of our military. All the work that goes into it, the coordination with the Pentagon, with Fort Bragg, with all the different groups that come in to help us, it’s such a special thing for us,” Smith said.

The Coca-Cola 600 is scheduled for May 29.

The weekend will feature a pre-race concert from Lynyrd Skynyrd, a military salute and demonstrations from Fort Bragg and performances by the 82nd Airborne Chorus.

Qualifying races take place May 28.