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Karen Duquette and her cousin Christine
at The Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR race
at ZMax Dragway
5555 Concord Parkway S.
Concord, NC (Cabarrus County)
May 29, 2021

SA map showing location of NVNC map showing location of Concord

Karen Duquette and her cousin Christine Thompson attended The Coca-Cola 600, an annual 600-mile NASCAR Cup Series points race held at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, NC, on this 2021 Memorial Day weekend. That means 400 laps and 600 miles, run in 4 stages of 100 miles each stage. It is the longest race on NASCAR's schedule. Track conditions changed throughout the race because the track was bathed in sunlight for the first third of the race. The second third happened at dusk, and the final third under the lights.

Several drivers competing here also competed at the Indianapolis 500 of Indy Car on this same date, which meant they drove over 1100 miles in one day.

Kyle Larson in car #5 won the Coca-Cola 600 on this date. He was dominant throughout the race.

Charlotte Motor Speedway sign
ZMax Dragway post Coca-Cola 600 sign
Coca-Cola 600 walkover Welcome to Charlotte Motor Speedway entrance

Karen's cousin Christine helps organize this event here every year as well as many other types of events throughout the year. It is her duty to be sure the proper military protocol is followed at civilian events.

Karen took some photos through the window of an office of people Christine knew and worked with.

Coca-cola image on track the track

Then Karen and Christine walked on the rooftop where the professional TV Cameramen were setting up and Karen took great photos before the events began.

roof top walkway Concord Water Tower


Karen Duquette and her cousin Karen Duquette on the rooftop

Below: A partial view of the parking lot. Cars were still coming in because the race has not started yet.

Charlotte Motor Speedway parking lot
Charlotte Motor Speedway Charlotte Motor Speedway
panoroma from the roof

These photos were all taken hours before the race and pre-ceremony events began. That is why the stands look empty. The event was sold out.

Charlotte Motor Speedway
Charlotte Motor Speedway Charlotte Motor Speedway

Below: Notice the private condos with their own viewing stands

condos at Charlotte Motor Speedway

condos at Charlotte Motor Speedway

In the photos below, notice the gigantic TV and the race cars lined up on the far side of the track. Karen found it interesting that they could not drive their cars to the line-up, they had to be pushed there by crew members.

NASCAR racers lined up

panorama of race cars

Then it was time for Karen Duquette and her cousin to go to the indoor viewing room to watch the Memorial Day Ceremonies before the race began. Christine had tickets for one of the best Indoor seating areas on the 7th floor. Seats were not assigned so they selected window seats overlooking the center of the track. The viewing seats were padded.

Even though they had a great view of the amazing, giant TV outdoors, plus the TV by the stage, there were TV monitors inside everywhere, even in the lounge section, over the couch and lounge chairs. There was also a private restroom just for people in this section.

There was an amazing all-you-can eat buffet of spiced chicken breasts in a crusty covering, beef ribs, vegetables, mashed potatoes, salad, deserts and more. Later, corn dogs and nachos smothered in cheese sauce was also available. Beer, wine, and a variety of flavors seltzers were also served. No limits. There were table and chairs available, but Karen and Christine took their food to their seats and placed the plates on the wide window ledge. They were very comfortable. Everything was outstanding.

military cannon firing military cannon firing

The guns were fired several times. Since there was still lots of time before the race would begin, many seats were still empty because people were still arriving, or getting food or whatever. It was a sold-out or nearly sold-out event.

military cannon firing military cannon firing
military cannon firing military cannon firing
military cannon firing
military cannon firing

Several medical helicopters flew in and landed on the inner field.

medical helicopter medical helicopter

Then the Black Hawks flew by, really close to the viewing window. Later the pilots and crew came into the viewing booth and Karen and Christine got to meet some of them. One of them was a woman.

Black Hawks helicopter Black Hawks  helicopter
Black Hawks helicopter Black Hawks  helicopter

Below: The active Military Service Personnel arrived. Then they stood at attention alongside the stage, all throughout the opening ceremonies. However, some of them introduced themselves and then the drivers. Christine immediately noted that the drivers should have introduced the military persons.

Military personnel Military personnel

As part of the race's annual tribute to the United States military, "Amazing Grace" was performed by the Charlotte Fire Department Band and "Taps" was played prior to the the National Anthem in memory of members of the Armed Forces who lost their lives in the line of duty. Later all military people, veterans or active, in the audience were asked to stand and be recognized, so both Karen and Christine stood up.

Charlotte Fire Department Band

Karen Duquette did not get a lot of pictures of the race because her cell phone ran out of battery power. But the viewing booth had phone chargers set up for just such an event. By the time her phone was charged, it was dark and the race was in the last stage, so Karen did not take any more photos. She did get some videos however, that are not posted here.

NASCAR races


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bullet Continue on to The North Carolina Vietnam Veterans Memorial at an I-85 rest stop between Greensboro and Charlotte.


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