Traditionally, the NASCAR community does a fantastic job of exuding patriotism and honouring the military throughout each and every season. And for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Memorial Weekend, they ramp it up several notches with a patriotic salute to the troops. And so they should!
The very intention of Memorial Day is to show respect and appreciation for the men and women that serve the country or have lost their lives in the line of duty. To honour them, each driver rides with the name of a fallen soldier on their car and hosts their family for the weekend. Pre-race is dedicated to military bands, and a massive American flag is flown on the infield, held by military personnel representing each and every branch. Past celebrations have included a 21-gun salute, the recognition of Medal of Honour recipients, a flyover of 3 Black Hawk helicopters, and bringing in 1000 service men and women to enjoy the race. This year promises to be more of the same… but with a twist.
Built into the schedule for Sunday, May 26th is the pausing of the race at the conclusion of Stage 2, in order to bring ALL cars to pit road. Charlotte Motor Speedway general manager Greg Walter has said the cars will come to a complete stop for a few moments of silence in an effort to observe the significance of Memorial Day. No doubt, this will be a moving tribute to those who serve and for families of those who serve.
However, an argument has surfaced over whether stopping the race for this tribute is necessary? While some people feel the event is already heavily steeped in patriotism so it doesn’t require anything extra, others feel the tribute is a nice touch but they have an issue with the timing. After all, a very effective moment of silence could be observed prior to the race, perhaps before or after the invocation when everyone in the stands and on pit road is already in that frame of mind and would be receptive to it. Waiting until the end of Stage 2 will offer a much different mindset, where drivers and crews will be pre-occupied with pit strategy and next moves, and the audience will be engaged in the race. In other words, the placement of this event will stall momentum, and sadly, might even serve as more of an annoyance, especially for fans that already have an issue with stage racing.
Since everyone is entitled to their own opinion, we want to know how our readers feel about this pause in the race. Do you think it’s necessary? Will the timing affect your enjoyment of the race? Let us know in the comments.