STATESVILLE, N.C. – David Ragan cites the Coca-Cola 600 right up there with the rest of NASCAR’s historic races: the Daytona 500, the Brickyard 400 and the Southern 500. Only the 600-miler is an even greater test of the endurance of both the driver and the car.
Ragan and his No. 34 Dockside Logistics Ford will both be tested in their return to Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Sunday night for NASCAR’s longest race. The long-running Coke 600, held in NASCAR’s hometown of Charlotte, helps mark the Memorial Day weekend every year.
Ragan has celebrated some solid results at the 1.5-mile oval in his Cup career, including one top-five and three top-10 finishes. Sunday night’s race will be his 13th career start at Charlotte.
Comments from Dockside Logistics team driver David Ragan heading to Charlotte: “Half-way into the Coca-Cola 600, you’re 300 miles in. And in a typical race you don’t have much longer to go. In fact, that’s about the standard distance of a Nationwide race. But in the 600, they tell you you’re just half-way and you’ve got to do 300 miles all over again. So, it is a long night.
“I’ve had some really good racecars there where the night flies by. But I’ve also gotten wrecked early on and just rode around for points the rest of the day, and that can be a long night. The Coca-Cola 600 always has a huge crowd. It’s an important race – our longest race of the year. So it’s good for the guys who build our cars and our engines to finish the race and take the checkered flag. That’s cool for everyone to get through that and experience that sense of accomplishment.
“The length of the race is a test for both man and machine. It’s been around this sport for a long time, obviously. The Daytona 500, the Brickyard, and even Darlington and Martinsville, are known for being the longest running races around, but this one has some history, too. Charlotte is the center of our sport, besides Daytona, and is home for a lot of the NASCAR teams, the companies and organizations that make this NASCAR world go around. It’s important and there are a lot of people here watching. Memorial Day weekend is an important weekend for all Americans, so it’s a fun weekend to run well.”