|CMS Pres. Marcus Smith and BOA's Charles |
Bowman with Lijana and Nik Wallenda.
Nik Wallenda made history earlier this year by successfully walking a wire 1,400 feet across a gorge near the Grand Canyon, live before 21 million viewers on the Discovery Channel. In 2012, Wallenda completed a walk across Niagara Falls from the U.S. into Canada, becoming the first person to do so, and also captivated race fans with a walk from the frontstretch grandstands to Victory Lane at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“I am very excited to be returning to the Bank of America 500 for the second year in a row. I love the challenge of raising the bar to keep the fans on the edge of their seats,” stated Nik. “Since I come from a family of wire walkers, I figured I would up the ante by inviting my sister to join me high above the track. We are both very proud and honored to be a part of this NASCAR event and the unparalleled history of pre-race entertainment at Charlotte Motor Speedway.”
Prior to the only Saturday night race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, Nik and Lijana will start at opposite ends of a 460-foot, 5/8-inch wire lifted by two cranes 140 feet above pit road in front of the frontstretch grandstands. They will each walk toward the center and when they meet, Nik will have to cross over Lijana so they both can continue toward the opposite ends of the wire.
In 1977, Charlotte Motor Speedway became the first race track to host elaborate pre-race shows. Through the years, fans have enjoyed a reenactment of the Battle of Grenada; a three-ring circus; numerous world-record automobile stunts; a 5,000-member marching band; professional boxing matches and an assemblage of 5,000 firefighters honoring the heroes of Sept. 11, 2001.
“Extending our tradition of spectacular pre-race entertainment is a challenge we embrace every year for our fans,” said Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway. “The Wallendas will take our breath away as daredevils in the air before the world’s best daredevils behind the wheel tangle in a playoff battle on the track. This Bank of America 500 is shaping up to be the most entertaining fall race in our 53-year history.”
Nik and Lijana Wallenda are seventh generation high-wire performers with a legacy of death-defying stunts. Their great-grandfather, Karl Wallenda, brought the act to the United States in the 1928 to perform with the Ringling Brothers Circus. Karl perished during a high-wire act at the age of 73.
Frontstretch tickets with views of the pre-race skywalk and the world’s largest HDTV start at two for just $99 and can be obtained through the Charlotte Motor Speedway ticket office by calling 1-800-455-FANS or online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.