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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Start your engines...

...and head over to the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, GA this Labor Day weekend!

Labor Day marks the second time this 500-mile night race in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, now called the "Emory Healthcare 500," is held earlier in the year. Previously, the race was the last of the season and has had plenty of different sponsors over the years.

Yesterday, the team's pace car--a 2010 Camaro--made an appearance on campus in front of Emory Hospital to promote the weekend's events. (New to the NASCAR world? Me too. A "pace car" is the car that sets the pace for the other drivers before the flag is waved.)

But the Georgia racing world has more ties to Emory than you'd think. Asa Candler 1899C, an Atlanta business tycoon who funded Emory's move from Oxford to Atlanta, also built the first race track in Atlanta. The track, called Candler Field, was located at the present day site of the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

To add to the fun facts, Emory Hospital's 500th heart transplant patient, Terry "Mr. 500" Green, is the grand marshal of the Emory Healthcare 500. (That's the guy who says, "Gentlemen, start your engines.")

And the race's honorary starter is Wayne Reese, a racing fan and a prostate cancer survivor who was treated at Emory Hospital. This weekend, he'll wave the green flag to mark the start the race.

If you're really into fun facts, there's 498 more of them on Emory Healthcare's website.

--Lindsey Bomnin 12C, EAA communications assistant

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