USN Commander and Astronaut Dominic ‘Tony’ Antonelli To Serve As Honorary Starter For The Mid-Summer Classic
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – In honor of the final flight of the Space Shuttle program – STS-135 Space Shuttle Atlantis scheduled for July 8 – Daytona International Speedway will pay tribute to NASA’s Space Shuttle program during the 53rd annual Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Saturday, July 2.
United States Navy Commander and Astronaut Dominic “Tony” Antonelli, who has served as pilot of both STS-119 Space Shuttle Discovery in 2009 and STS-132 Space Shuttle Atlantis in 2010, will serve as Honorary Starter for the mid-summer classic.
“The final launch of the Space Shuttle program is a historic moment. We’re proud to pay tribute to NASA’s Space Shuttle program and welcome Astronaut Dominic “Tony” Antonelli as Honorary Starter,” Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III said. “Having piloted the Space Shuttle twice, Tony will surely appreciate the thrill of speed from the flag stand as 43 stars of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series roar past him to start the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola.”
As Honorary Starter, Antonelli will be introduced at the driver’s meeting, participate in the driver introductions and wave the green flag for the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola. Antonelli will also make appearances in the Coke Zero Club and 31 Degrees hospitality venues prior to the start of the race.
Antonelli has logged a total of 24 days, 3 hours, 57 minutes and 35 seconds in space. In his first mission as pilot of STS-119 Space Shuttle Discovery in March 2009, he was part of the crew that delivered the S6 Integrated Truss Segment and the final pair of power-generating solar array wings to the International Space Station.
Aboard STS-132 Space Shuttle Atlantis in 2010, Antonelli was part of the crew that delivered an Integrated Cargo Carrier and a Russian-build Mini Research Module to the Station.
In addition to Antonelli’s role as Honorary Starter, Daytona International Speedway will show a video tribute to NASA’s Space Shuttle program during pre-race ceremonies.
To purchase tickets for the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola, call 1-800-PITSHOP or visit www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com
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