Rain or shine, race weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway is more than just a race for fans

Fans will spend the weekend enjoying the fellowship and honoring the military.
This Weekend will be the 64th running of the Coca-Cola 600 on May 28
Published: May. 26, 2023 at 9:48 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Tens of thousands of people are in the Charlotte area this weekend for several big races at Charlotte Motor Speedway, including the Coca-Cola 600.

Rain could dampen plans for some racers but it’s not stopping people from filling in at the speedway for camping, festivities and racing.

Speed Street kicked off Friday afternoon with fans and families enjoying time before the races.

Some fans said racing is a big deal, but some aspects of the weekend have deeper meanings.

“Engine, engine number 9, let’s go [Chase] Elliott,” cheered Todd Morrow.

Denise Dinapoli and her friends are cheering on multiple drivers, including Elliott, Kevin Harvick and AJ Allmendinger.

There’s rain in the forecast this weekend, but fans said it won’t stop the fun.

“Don’t matter, rain or shine, don’t let the weather define your day,” Dinapoli said.

“There’s always a chance for rain,” Morrow said. “There’s always a chance for racing, so we just hang it out, let it go.”

The experience goes beyond the racetrack with the campground playing a major role this weekend.

“I’m here at the racetrack, they’ve tried to get me to go to dinner some place, but this is where I want to be,” Harry Wiley said.

Since 1977, Wiley hasn’t missed a race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and people call him the ‘Mayor’ of the campground.

“It’s a feeling when I pull on the ground, I get, I get such a chill of free,” he said.

People said it’s a special feeling of community during the race weekend, and to be able to honor the men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

“If it wasn’t for the soldiers and what they do, we wouldn’t have the freedom to do what we do,” Morrow said.

The campground mayor, a U.S. Army veteran himself, has a special place dedicated to our troops and to those who gave their all. Campers said that every evening at 8, taps are played.

“Our veterans, our military, a lot of people don’t understand the respect that we need to give them,” Wiley said.

“We try to get all of the veterans to go up there and join in, doesn’t take very long but it’s the idea,” Mary Lindquist said. “It’s Memorial Day weekend.”

The hope is the rain will stay away long enough to get the actual races in over the week.

Saturday’s Xfinity race has been moved up an hour to get it in. The green flag will drop around 12:15 p.m. instead of the previously scheduled 1:15 p.m. time.

Related: Reserved grandstand seating, camping sold out for Sunday’s 64th running of the Coca-Cola 600