By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard
The Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend (or as the rest of the world calls it ‘the last Sunday in May’) is an automotive fans dream. It starts at 8am Eastern and ends sometime around 10pm Eastern. From Monaco to Indianapolis to Charlotte, it is the greatest day in racing. What makes it great is not that there are races on all day but the remarkable combination or engineering, strategy, human endurance and tradition.
The Monaco Grand Prix began in 1929. It is one of the biggest races of the year in Formula 1(F1) and one the most prestigious in all of racing. Won this year by Nico Rosberg, it runs right through the city, incorporates a nasty hairpin turn, and pretty much signifies the glitz and glamour that is F1. Throw in the fact that the cars are some of the most complex in the world and tit’s amazing that just about everyone finishes the race.
The Indianapolis 500 is the race for most people. If people watch one race all year it’s probably this one. It’s considered by some to be the sporting event of the year, in the best venue, and with the richest tradition.
This years Indy 500 was the second closes in history with Ryan Hunter-Reay beating out three time champ Helio Castroneves for his first ever victory.
The Coca-Cola 600 takes place in Charlotte, NC and is the longest race of the year for NASCAR. It spans 400 laps and 600 miles (Indy is 200 laps and 500 miles). It’s been run since 1959 and wraps up the long day of racing. Jimmie Johnson took home the checkered flag this year, his fourth Coca-Cola 600 win of his career.
One of the great feats in racing is to attempt ‘the double’. That is where a driver races in the Indy 500 and later in the Coca-Cola 600. The best combined finish was Tony Stewart back in 2001. This year Kurt Busch gave it shot. He made it over halfway but his engine blew out in Charlotte. All told, Busch race some 900 miles on Sunday.
Sports is the greatest reality show on television. Race day 2014 was no exception. Close finishes with unexpected twists and turns along the way. From France to the Midwest to the Deep South, it’s a day where any sports fan can get their fill of racing and the rest can witness the amazing combination of engineering, strategy, tradition and human endurance.