The Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Memorial Day weekend is a staple of the Monster Energy Cup Series schedule. Along with the NASCAR Salutes programme and other events throughout the week, many teams will run different car designs from usual to honor the United States military on the holiday.
Keeping with a trend dating back to 2015, each car will carry the name of a fallen service member on the windshield; for example, JTG Daugherty Racing‘s Chris Buescher and Ryan Preece will honour Sergeant First Class David Moore and Army Specialist William Jeffries, both of whom served alongside JTG engineer Brian Burns in the Army National Guard. For the Xfinity Series‘ Alsco 300 on Saturday, car windshield banners will be red, white, and blue.
Goodyear will also continue the tradition of changing its “Eagle” tyre to a phrase honouring the troops, in this case “Honor and Remember”.
Teams have also prepared special liveries for their cars, many of which are coloured and/or patterned after the ‘Stars and Stripes’ of American flag. Others like Ty Dillon, Michael McDowell, and Jimmie Johnson have a military camouflage patterns for their designs, with McDowell’s also incorporating the Stars and Stripes.
Perhaps the most unique of the new paint schemes belong to Rick Ware Racing. For the 600, the team will field three cars in a points race for the first time in its history, running the #51 for Cody Ware, the #52 for Bayley Currey, and the new #53 for B.J. McLeod. The #53 made its Cup debut the previous week at the Monster Energy Open exhibition, with its design emulating the ‘Red Tails’ P-51 Mustangs flown by the famed Tuskegee Airmen‘s 332nd Fighter Group during World War II. The scheme will return for the 600.
Like the #53, McLeod’s team-mates are sporting liveries honouring American aerial history. Ware’s #51 is an ode to the Flying Tigers in WWII, featuring the group’s iconic “shark face” on the front, while Currey’s #52 is modelled after the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance plane.
Sunday’s race will also be paused after Stage #2 (unlike other races on the Cup schedule, the 600 is divided into four stages) and the cars ordered to pit road for an additional military tribute. William Byron, who is driving a flag-themed car, will start on the pole.