Memorial Day means a lot of things in the United States. Chief among those, of course, is the remembrance of the men and women who have fallen in battle serving the country in its armed forces.
Aside from that, though, is the fact that this is the biggest racing weekend on the calendar each year. Whether it’s pavement racing, dirt racing, drag racing or just about any other form of motorsports one can imagine on oval tracks, road courses or otherwise, it will be among the biggest sporting events to take place over the next few days. If one is so inclined, it would be possible to park in front of a television and watch motorsports from morning until evening with hardly a break in the action.
Formula 1 will be contesting an event in one of its most traditional locations when the lights go down for the start of the Grand Prix of Monaco. Yes, the show there is more about the ‘see-and-be-seen’ celebrities in the crowd than it is about the actual racing. And no, the racing typically is not great on the narrow street course meant for cars and the style of racing that took place decades ago. But still, it’s one of motorsports’ marquee events and it serves as a warm up for later offerings in the day on Sunday.
No matter what your bias for or against other forms of competition, the Indianapolis 500 still holds the title as the greatest spectacle in racing. It is the crown jewel of crown jewels. This race has a history that dates back over 100 years and boasts some of the most recognizable names in the history of the sport as it past champions. And no sporting venue can put on a show leading up to the main event like the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The history of racing just oozes from the 2.5-mile ‘Brickyard’ with the likes of Foyt, Andretti, Mears, Rutherford, Castroneves and the Unsers having taken the traditional sip of milk at the end of the 500-mile test of speed and endurance.
And speaking of endurance, the Coca-Cola 600 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway will bring the curtain down on Sunday night as the NASCAR Cup Series stages its longest race of the season. Although it doesn’t date back as far as the Indy 500, this race is steeped in tradition with stock stars such as Petty, Pearson, Earnhardt, Allison, Waltrip, Johnson, Gordon and Larson all having taken the checkered flag as winners there.
But that is far from all, racing fans.
If dirt racing is the thing for you, the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series will sanctioned the Show-me 100 $50,000-to-win race this weekend at the Lucas Oil Speedway in Missouri. That event is actually a three-day affair leading into the big show on Saturday night.
Likewise, the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Late Model Series will be in action for its own three-day happening at Ohio’s Sharon Speedway culminating with a $25,000-to-win feature on Saturday. And more, the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series will roll into Ohio’s Atomic Speedway for back-to-back nights of racing on Friday and Saturday as well.
Apart from that, there will be scores of regional and local shows taking place all over the country in various forms of racing.
Memorial Day weekend typically serves as the kickoff of summer and also brings racing up to full song at tracks in many locations. So as the title of this piece states, if this weekend doesn’t get you excited, you’re not a race fan.
Richard Allen has been covering NASCAR and other forms of motorsports since 2008.
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