CONCORD, NC (WBTV) – Despite the wet weather, several race fans have already set up campgrounds at the campgrounds surrounding Charlotte Motor Speedway in Cabarrus County. Thousands are expected this Sunday for the Coca-Cola 600 race. Race-related celebrations take place throughout Memorial Day weekend.
Harry Wiley, a die-hard race fan from Johnson City, Tennessee, said he has been racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway since 1978. He stated that he looks forward to meeting and reconnecting with race fans from across the country.
“I’ve raced my whole life. We like to do that, community with the people. It has grown into a family. It’s homecoming,” Wiley said.
He explained that dealing with crazy weather is part of the Race Week experience. Heavy rain fell across the Charlotte area on Monday.
“You just have to go with the flow – there’s nothing you can do about it. I saw us get sunburned here. We freeze to death. And drown it all in the same week,” Wiley said.
Chris Kapicka, an Idaho race fan, said that she and her husband have traveled to Charlotte Motor Speedway every year since 2008. She, too, said the weather was just something race fans would have to endure.
“You had more rain today than Idaho has had in almost a year. It’s a little overwhelming, but we love it,” Kapicka explained.
Jonathan Coleman, senior director of communications at Charlotte Motor Speedway, said he understands the commitment of die-hard fans willing to spend their entire week away from the speedway.
“It’s vacation. I went to the beach in the summer. In winter I go to the mountains. Whatever the case may be. For so many fans, this is vacation. That’s where they come to have this good time,” noted Coleman.
Wiley plans to cherish his time at the speedway.
“I’m 75. I know I don’t have many years to do this, but I will do it as long as the Lord lets me,” he said.
Official race-related activities begin on Friday. Multiple races and live music performances take place throughout the weekend, culminating on Sunday night at the Coca-Cola 600.
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