Memorial Day in the United States is a time to remember and honor the soldiers who lost their lives while serving in the United States military.
With that, Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (N. C.) Motor Speedway takes on a special meaning for those in the NASCAR community. It will be the annual “600 Miles of Remembrance,” during which each car in the field will carry the name of a fallen soldier on the windshield.
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Red, White & Blue Toyota, has the honor of displaying the name of Naval Helicopter Aircrewman 1st Class Jonathan Clement on his windshield during NASCAR’s longest event. Clement, a native of Vero Beach, Florida, lost his life in July 2018 in an accident in San Diego. A longtime Washington Redskins fan, Clement's family is excited to be riding along for the team owned by three-time Super Bowl winning coach of the Redskins.
In addition to honoring the fallen soldier, the No. 18 M&M’S Red, White & Blue Toyota Camry features a patriotic paint scheme that celebrates M&M’S Red, White & Blue Mix that is available for fans to show their patriotic spirit.
The traditional Memorial Day-weekend 600-mile race comes at a busy time for NASCAR. The suspended 2020 schedule resumed last weekend at Darlington (S. C. ) Raceway after a 10-week hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Busch is coming off a runner-up finish Wednesday night at Darlington, where he rallied from his 26th-place starting spot after finishing in that same position in Sunday’s first race back from the hiatus for NASCAR’s top series. Sunday’s race is one of five among NASCAR’s top three series that Busch is scheduled to compete in over a seven-day span as the sport’s schedule is back in full swing.
As for the 1. 5-mile oval in Charlotte, Busch has managed to enjoy plenty of success there with 13 top-five finishes and 18 top-10s in his 30 previous Cup Series starts over the past 14-plus seasons. In addition to solid Cup Series finishes, Busch has captured eight NASCAR Xfinity Series wins at Charlotte – May 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2010, October 2008 and 2009, and both May and October 2013. He also has eight NASCAR Truck Series wins at the track – 2005, 2006, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2017 and 2019.
While he had gone to victory lane early and often in the Xfinity and Truck Series, Busch only recently broke through in the Cup Series at Charlotte. His 2017 win in the non-points All-Star Race was his first Cup Series win of any kind at Charlotte. The following year, in 2018, Busch was able to win there again, this time bringing home his first points-paying Cup Series win at the track and adding another crown jewel to his already impressive resume. Even more special, another fallen soldier’s name was able to help Busch on his ride to victory lane. SGT Eric Toth, who lost his life in Iraq in March 2005, adorned his windshield that day.
So, this Memorial Day weekend, Busch will look to bring home his second crown jewel win at Charlotte and, at the same time, honor Clement and all troops who have given the ultimate sacrifice, as well as those who continue to serve America and the Red, White & Blue.