This is by far the biggest tradition in NASCAR’s rich history as far as supporting the military is concerned. It’s always been an institution for the Sprint All-Star Race to follow the Coca-Cola 600 the following weekend, and since the race falls on Memorial Day weekend, they take time to honor those who have served, whether or not they are still with us. It is a moving tradition like no other, and this is where NASCAR gives back to those who made sacrifices.
Martin Truex Jr won his second pole of the season, and looks to be the next driver to turn his bad luck around after Matt Kenseth won at Dover. Like Kenseth, Truex has had opportunities to close out a race with a win, only for his car to bottom out, or be in the wrong place at the wrong time. If Truex wants to be the eighth different driver to lock into the Chase, he will need to endure 600 miles at Charlotte Motor Speedway to do so.
Joey Logano looks to become the eighth driver to win both the Sprint All-Star Race and the Coca-Cola 600 in the same year. Kurt Busch is the last driver to do so. Although the All-Star win isn’t a points race, it helps build enough confidence for Logano as he starts second beside Truex. The only time Logano has won in Charlotte was during the Chase last season.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr gets his fourth straight top 10 start, but none of the previous three have resulted in a top 10 finish as he starts third. Stenhouse has went seven straight races without a top 10. Denny Hamlin gets his 11th straight top 10 start of the season in fourth. Hamlin has 10 top 10 finishes in the last 11 races at Charlotte. He’s also trying to score his third top 10 in the last five races this season.
Brad Keselowski is fifth as he looks to become the second driver to reach three wins this season along with Kyle Busch. Keselowski won at Charlotte in 2013, and has built up four top 10’s in the last five races overall. Greg Biffle hopes his segment win in theSprint Showdown will be enough to give him a push for a top 10. Starting in sixth is his best start yet, as he still struggles to get his first top 10 of the season. His last top 10 was Loudon during the Chase last season, 20 straight races.
Jimmie Johnson has the most active wins at Charlotte with seven. This is a great spot for Johnson to break out of the slump he’s been in the last three races. He will start seventh and looks to get back to his winning ways and back into the top 10. Kevin Harvick is a three time winner and hopes to finally find some kind of quality in passing as he starts eighth. This has by far been Harvick’s best track since he has 10 top 10’s in the last 11 races, including his three wins.
Last year’s winner Carl Edwards starts ninth, which is how he was able to kick things off with his new team last year after a nervously slow start. Edwards is already at a better start winning two races consecutively. He too looks to become the second driver with three wins in a season. Trevor Bayne didn’t hold anything back during the All-Star Race as he starts 10th. With that boost of confidence, he looks for his third top 10 in four races and fourth overall this season.
This is truly an event that is worth watching as each driver will be honoring a veteran of their choice. If this doesn’t show that NASCAR isn’t patriotic and caring, I don’t know what else could. This race proves that NASCAR has a heart for not only the veterans, but their families and others in time of need.
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Bryan Law