MIAMI – Last Sunday, Homestead-Miami Speedway welcomed about 1,000 South Florida service members to the NASCAR Cup Series Dixie Vodka 400 as they watched Denny Hamlin take the checkered flag. On Saturday, they hosted the graduating seniors from Miami’s Columbus High School at the South Florida track so that these students would also have the opportunity to experience that long-awaited victory lap.
The class of almost 400 from the all-boys, Catholic school received their diplomas at the start/finish line of the famed track, after which they took that lap around the 1.5-mile oval, led by the official pace car of Homestead-Miami Speedway, a Ford Mustang.
“These are challenging times we are all facing, and it’s gratifying to know we’re able to bring some enjoyment for these students,” said Homestead-Miami Speedway President Al Garcia. “They all have very bright futures, and hopefully this is something they will always cherish. To receive your diploma at the same spot where Jimmie Johnson clinched a NASCAR-record seven championships is pretty special.”
"We want to thank Al Garcia and his wonderful team at HMS for helping us bring this amazing and once in a life-time opportunity to our senior class," said Columbus High School President Thomas Kruczek. "With the foresight and ingenuity of the HMS and CCHS Graduation Committees, this was a notable and fun event that will forever be remembered by all who attended."
The track will hold two more high school graduation ceremonies this week – Palm Glades Preparatory Academy in Miami on Monday (6:00 p.m.) and Homestead’s Chambers High School on Tuesday (6:00 p.m.).
Media interested in covering the events this week may reach out to Homestead-Miami Speedway Senior Director of Marketing & Communications, Neal Gulkis, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Rachel Horton at email@example.com.
About Homestead-Miami Speedway
Homestead-Miami Speedway has been open since 1995 following an initiative to spur economic recovery in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew. The Speedway, which was founded by Miami businessman, racing enthusiast and philanthropist Ralph Sanchez, is a 650-acre facility that features a 1.5-mile oval and 2.21-mile road course. The Speedway hosts on-track events nearly 300 days per year and generates more than $301 million annually for the region. In 2019, NASCAR crowned champions in all three of its national series at Homestead-Miami Speedway during Ford Championship Weekend for the 18th consecutive year (2002-19). Champions crowned at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2019 were Kyle Busch (NASCAR Cup Series), Tyler Reddick (NASCAR Xfinity Series) and Matt Crafton (NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series). In 2020, Homestead-Miami Speedway commemorates its 25th anniversary in 2020, as it hosts four NASCAR races over two days – June 13-14 – capped by the running of the NASCAR Cup Series Dixie Vodka 400 on Sunday, June 14.