The NASCAR Cup Series is set to run the second (or third) crown jewel race of the season this week. The Coca-Cola 600 will take place this Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. It marks the 15th race of the 2021 season. The 1.5-mile oval track will probably have the best pre-race ceremonies of the year as NASCAR will celebrate Memorial Day and honor the men and women who have served. Tune in early this week because this is something you don’t want to miss.
Let’s take a closer look at Charlotte Motor Speedway and the storied history of both the track and famous Coca-Cola 600 race.
Charlotte Motor Speedway Overview
Located in Concord, North Carolina, Charlotte Motor Speedway is a quad-oval track. It first was opened with the World 600 as its first-ever race. They wanted to hold it on Memorial Day to rival the Indianapolis 500, but that track wasn’t ready. Every year since 1960, Charlotte has hosted the 600-mile NASCAR Cup Series race, the longest event of the circuit’s annual schedule.
Since 1961, the Coca-Cola 600 has always been hosted on Memorial Day Weekend. In 1985, Coca-Cola bought the sponsorship rights and the race has been officially named the Coca-Cola 600 ever since. From 1999-2009, Charlotte Motor Speedway was actually sponsored by Lowe’s.
Oval Loses One Annual Race to Charlotte ROVAL
The track’s two annual NASCAR Cup Series races used to both be run on the oval. That all changed starting in 2018. The second race at the track is now run on the road course, called the ROVAL. In 2020, NASCAR had three races at Charlotte due to the virus and rescheduling. Two were run on the oval and both took place in May while the ROVAL kept its usual date in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series has always had two races at Charlotte Motor Speedway since its inception in 1982. just like the Cup Series, they now race on the ROVAL for their second race date in the fall. The NASCAR Truck Series took a while to get a race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. 2003 marked the maiden voyage for the trucks at the track. Since then they have raced at Charlotte every May.
Charlotte Motor Speedway Used to Host Annual NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race
In addition to both a spring and fall points race, Charlotte Motor Speedway has been the long-time home of the NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race. The first edition of the event was held at the North Carolina track in 1985. After being held at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1986, the event returned to Charlotte in 1987. It was run there annually up through the 2019 season.
Last year, NASCAR moved the All-Star race to Bristol Motor Speedway as part of the rescheduling efforts. In 2021, the All-Star race once again will not take place at Charlotte. After surrendering one of its two annual races to Circuit of the Americas, Texas Motor Speedway will get to host the 2021 All-Star Weekend as a consolation of sorts.
NASCAR Cup Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway | Weekend Racing Schedule
North Carolina Education Lottery 200
Series: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Date: Friday, May 28, 2021
Start Time: 3:30 P.M. EST
Distance: 200 miles
Alsco Uniforms 300
Series: NASCAR Xfinity Series
Date: Saturday, May 29, 2021
Start Time: 1 P.M. EST
Distance: 300 miles
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Date: Sunday, May 30, 2021
Start Time: 6 P.M. EST
Distance: 600 miles
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