Memorial Day Sunday is one of the greatest days in motorsports. Three of the most prestigious races in the world take place in the same day giving fans a jam-packed day of racing. The morning starts with the Monaco Grand Prix. Then it’s to Indiana where the Indianapolis 500 takes place in the afternoon. And finishing off the evening is the longest race in NASCAR, the Coca-Cola 600.
More importantly, Memorial Day weekend is a time to remember those in the military who have paid the ultimate sacrifice defending this country. NASCAR, in association with teams and sponsors, will take part in the NASCAR Salutes program. An initiative that will remember fallen military members that will begin this Memorial Day weekend in Charlotte.
One such thing that will happen this weekend is the “600 Miles of Remembrance” tribute. Instead of the name of the driver, each car during the Coca-Cola 600 will have the name of a fallen service member on the front windshield and will have their story told.
Many of those honored will have a NASCAR connection and some will have a personal connection with the car they represent. For instance, Gunnery Sergeant Chris Eckard of the U.S. Marine Corps will be on Brad Keselowski’s car this weekend. Eckard was best friends with Team Penske’s chassis fabricator Casey Mahoney and will have his best friend’s name on a car he helped build.
Many NASCAR partners will have their own tributes for the military. In addition to teams showcasing red, white and blue paint schemes, Charlotte Motor Speedway is hosting more than 5,000 active military members as well as the families of those fallen service members being honored. Coca-Cola will be honoring the spouses of the military while Xfinity Series cars will have red, white and blue decals on the windshield, among others.
Throughout the Coca-Cola 600 broadcast, Fox will air a special tribute and list the names of those who have lost their lives since last year’s Memorial Day at various points throughout the race.
NASCAR has always been known for honoring the military and this Memorial Day will be no different. It’s their sacrifice that allows us to be able to enjoy this Memorial Day weekend so whether we are watching racing all day or enjoying a cookout that unofficially kicks off the start of summer, spare a thought for those who paid the ultimate price to help make that happen.
[Photo: Getty Images]