On the road to the second NASCAR weekend in Atlanta, the Coca-Cola Racing Family made a pit stop at the Coke headquarters. It was a unique opportunity for current drivers, legends and their friends and family to step off the track, and into the world of Coca-Cola.
NASCAR season officially kicked into high gear last weekend at the Daytona 500 where Coca-Cola Racing Family driver Denny Hamlin took home the win.
This week Coca-Cola Racing Family drivers Austin Dillon, Danica Patrick, Ryan Newman, Joey Logano, and Denny Hamlin will take to the track for the Folds of Honor QuickTrip 500 in hopes of making it to victory lane. Coke Drivers Bubba Wallace and Daniel Suarez will be competing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. But before getting down to business, it was time to for a little racing family R&R.
Joined by Coca-Cola Racing Family legends Kyle Petty, Jeff Burton and Bobby Labonte, the large crew took an all access tour of campus. The day began with a Coca-Cola 101 info session, followed by a tour of former president Robert Woodruff’s office and the Coca-Cola Archives.
“To be able to come out and check out the archives is really neat. I’m all into historic things. I’m at an antique shop when I’m not racing,” said driver Bubba Wallace as he glanced through Coca-Cola racing history.
Like Bubba, most of the drivers agreed exploring the archives was the highlight of their visit. The Coca-Cola archives team set out unique Coke racing items from old video clips to magazines, many of which drivers had never seen before. And seeing it all together as a family was a win-win.
“That’s the fun part for me, seeing it with Daniel Suarez, Bubba, Austin Dillon… those guys,” says Coke Family Racing alum Kyle Petty. “I drove the Mello Yello car in ’92 so I’ve been coming to the Coca-Cola headquarters since then. Now I’m the old guy (he laughs)… I’m the guy with the long beard answering their questions. It’s really cool for these young guys to get to see and feel what Coca-Cola is and see how important Coca-Cola is, not only to our sport but to the world in general. When you’re part of the Coca-Cola family, you’re part of the world’s family. It’s cool to see that light bulb go off in their head.”
The group, referred to as a racing “family”, takes that quite literally. They’re more than teammates, on and off the track, and it’s apparent.
“I’ve always said NASCAR is the best family sport out there,” says driver Ryan Newman. “But Coca-Cola takes that to the next level within sponsorship of NASCAR and how they treat us. They treat us like family, and we are.”
After wrapping up the archives tour, the “family bonding” continued as the group spent the rest of the evening at an annual dinner held at the Coke headquarters.
The Coca-Cola Racing Family drivers will hit the track on Saturday and Sunday. Their hope, to bring his or her team to Victory Lane and and enjoy the moment with a cold Coke after, of course. Who knows, maybe that photo will live forever in Coke’s archives for the family to see next year on a return visit.
All photos by Amy Sparks