|At Charlotte Motor Speedway, flags fly to commemorate Memorial Day.|
Credit: Charlotte Bray/Skirts and Scuffs
For NASCAR fans, it's the longest race of the year, one of the crown jewels of the sport, the Coca Cola 600. Formerly known as the World 600, it's a race that challenges the endurance of both man and machine. It's the marathon of stock car racing.
Outside the world of NASCAR, the day is held in reverence for the running of two of the most famous races in the world: the Monaco Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500. From the hairpin turns of the streets of Monte Carlo to the yard of bricks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, it's a global celebration of speed and skill.
For this one day, NASCAR Nation steps outside the comfort zone of fenders and roll cages to watch the best of open-wheel racing. To truly appreciate the spectacle, though, you'll need to know some background. Skirts and Scuffs has you covered. Here's a breakdown of each race, with the starting grids.
Formula 1 Grand Prix of Monaco
|Points leader Lewis Hamilton on the Circuit de Monaco|
©2014 MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team
Circuit de Monaco, Monaco
78 laps on a 3.340-kilometer street course (260.5 kilometers)
Lewis Hamilton started from the pole for three of his four wins thus far in the 2014 season, and aimed to do so again during qualifying on Saturday, but his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg thwarted his efforts. Rosberg laid down the fastest lap then had a problem that resulted in him going onto the escape road, which brought out a caution, effectively ending the session. Hamilton leads Rosberg by three points in the F1 championship standings, and while this is only the sixth of 19 grands prix, the tension between the teammates is palpable.
Other drivers to watch: Four-time series champion Sebastian Vettel, the 2011 race winner, and Fernando Alonso, two-time series champ and two-time winner at Monaco.
|Qualifying results for this race:|
|Rank||Car No.||Driver||Abbreviation||Team||Speed (km/hr)|
|3||3||Daniel Ricciardo||RIC||Red Bull Racing||157.415|
|4||1||Sebastian Vettel||VET||Red Bull Racing||157.080|
|6||7||Kimi Raikkonen||RAI||Force India||155.371|
|7||25||Jean-Eric Vergne||VER||Toro Rosso||155.068|
|9||26||Daniil Kvyat||KVY||Toro Rosso||153.976|
|10||11||Sergio Perez||PER||Force India||153.510|
|11||27||Nico Hulkenberg||HUL||Force India||154.459|
Verizon IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500
|Kurt Busch leaving pit lane for his qualifying attempt.|
Credit: Walter Kuhn, Verizon IndyCar
Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Speedway, IN
200 laps on a 2.5-mile paved track (500.0 miles)
For most NASCAR fans, the main storyline for the Indianapolis 500 revolves around Kurt Busch's attempt at running both the 500 and NASCAR's Coke 600 in the "double." His IndyCar ride is from Andretti Autosports, his NASCAR gig is for 1997 IRL Champ Tony Stewart, who tried five times to win the Borg Warner trophy, including two doubles of his own. Busch starts the 500 in 12th, outside the fourth row.
That fourth row is oddly interrelated. Immediately to Busch's left, in 11th, Scott Dixon makes his twelfth start at the Brickyard. The New Zealander, known as Dixie, won the 2008 Indy 500 and finished second in 2007 and 2012. Dixon scored the IndyCar Championship for Target Chip Ganassi in 2008 and 2013.
On the inside of the row, in P10, sits Juan Pablo Montoya. JPM won the 2000 Indy 500 for Target Chip Ganassi and he returns to the Brickyard in an open-wheel car after spending the last seven years driving stock cars. With the exception of his five-and-a-half seasons in F1, Montoya drove exclusively for Ganassi, but his return to open wheel is for Team Penske, for whom Kurt Busch drove stock cars between 2006-2008.
Side note: Montoya earned more than three times as much for his 39th-place finish in the 2013 Daytona 500 ($318,693) than he's earned so far this season in four IndyCar starts ($98,236.)
Watch for Row Four to try to move up fast.
But keep an eye on Helio Castroneves, who wants to win for the fourth time, and his Team Penske teammate Will Power who's hungry for his first Brickyard win.
Qualifying results for this race:
|1||20||Ed Carpenter||Ed Carpenter Racing||231.067|
|2||27||James Hinchcliffe||Andretti Autosport||230.839|
|3||12||Will Power||Team Penske||230.697|
|4||3||Helio Castroneves||Team Penske||230.649|
|5||77||Simon Pagenaud||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||230.614|
|6||25||Marco Andretti||Andretti Autosport||230.544|
|7||34||Carlos Munoz||Andretti Autosport||230.146|
|8||67||Josef Newgarden||Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing||229.893|
|9||21||J.R. Hildebrand||Ed Carpenter Racing||228.726|
|10||2||Juan Pablo Montoya||Team Penske||231.007|
|11||9||Scott Dixon||Target Chip Ganassi||230.928|
|12||26||Kurt Busch||Andretti Autosport||230.782|
|13||98||Jack Hawksworth||BBA/BBM with Curb-Agajanian||230.506|
|14||19||Justin Wilson||Dale Coyne Racing||230.256|
|15||7||Mikhail Aleshin||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||230.049|
|16||10||Tony Kanaan||Target Chip Ganassi||229.922|
|17||11||Sebastien Bourdais||KV SH Racing||229.847|
|18||16||Oriol Servia||Rahal Letterman Laningan Racing||229.752|
|19||28||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Andretti Autosport||229.719|
|20||15||Graham Rahal||Rahal Letterman Laningan Racing||229.628|
|21||18||Carlos Huertas||Dale Coyne Racing||229.251|
|22||63||Pippa Mann||Dale Coyne Racing||229.223|
|23||14||Takuma Sato||AJ Foyt Enterprises||229.201|
|24||68||Alex Tagliani||Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing||229.148|
|25||6||Townsend Bell||KV SH Racing||229.009|
|26||83||Charlie Kimball||Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing||228.953|
|27||5||Jacques Villeneuve||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||228.949|
|28||33||James Davison||KV Racing Technology||228.865|
|29||41||Martin Plowman||AJ Foyt Enterprises||228.814|
|30||8||Ryan Briscoe||NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing||228.713|
|31||22||Sage Karam||Deyer & Reinbold Kingdom Racing||228.436|
|32||17||Sebastian Saavedra||KV AFS Racing||228.088|
|33||91||Buddy Lazier||Lazier Partners Racing, Inc.||227.920|
NASCAR Sprint Cup Coca-Cola 600
|Jimmie Johnson on the pole for the Coca-Cola 600|
Credit: Charlotte Bray/Skirts and Scuffs
Green flag: 6:16 p.m. ET
Charlotte Motor Speedway,
400 laps on a 1.5-mile paved track (600.0 miles)
Kurt Busch's drama continues at Charlotte Motor Speedway after he's completed a full day's work in Indianapolis. He's got Parker Kligerman on standby in case the timing doesn't work out but since The Outlaw sits 28th in points, he'd like to avoid having Kligerman start the race for him, and having Kligerman finish the race would be almost as bad.
As compelling a storyline as "The Double" is, just as at Indy, it's not the only story.
Jimmie Johnson scored his first pole of the season and hopes to notch his first win of the season at the track formerly known as "Jimmie's House." Johnson's been on the pole for the 600 twice before and won from it once.
Johnson's Hendrick teammate Jeff Gordon only ran 11 laps of practice Saturday because of debilitating back spasms. Gordon has Regan Smith ready to climb in the No. 24 if necessary. While Gordon, who has the longest streak of consecutive starts of all active drivers, may turn the car over to Smith after starting the race, it would have to be a dire situation for the three-time 600 winner not to take the green flag.
Other points of interest:
Brad Keselowski starts from the front row for the seventh time in 12 races.
Danica Patrick rolls off fourth, her second-best Cup start and only her fifth from the top ten. Third-fastest in final practice, she hopes to follow up her seventh-place Kansas finish with an even better one in the 600.
Kyle Busch was fastest in final practice but will start in the back of the field because he crashed his primary car in that practice.
|Qualifying results for this race:|
|Car #||Driver||Sponsor||Best Speed|
|1||48||Jimmie Johnson||Lowe's Patriotic||194.911|
|2||2||Brad Keselowski||Miller Lite||194.567|
|3||5||Kasey Kahne||Farmers Insurance||193.618|
|5||15||Clint Bowyer||Cherry 5-Hour ENERGY||193.244|
|6||11||Denny Hamlin||FedEx Office||193.119|
|8||22||Joey Logano||Pennzoil Platinum||192.472|
|9||9||Marcos Ambrose||Twisted Tea||191.673|
|10||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr||National Guard/Superman||191.272|
|11||4||Kevin Harvick||Budweiser Folds of Honor||193.959|
|12||20||Matt Kenseth||Home Depot Husky||192.898|
|13||43||Aric Almirola||United States Air Force||192.692|
|14||21||Trevor Bayne||Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & AutoCtr||192.486|
|15||78||Martin Truex Jr||Furniture Row||192.438|
|16||55||Brian Vickers||Aaron's Dream Machine||192.027|
|18||14||Tony Stewart||Bass Pro Shops-Mobil 1 Chevrolet||191.925|
|19||33||Brian Scott||Shore Lodge||191.884|
|20||47||AJ Allmendinger||Bush Beans||191.829|
|21||27||Paul Menard||Serta / Menards||191.707|
|23||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr||Fastenal||189.208|
|27||24||Jeff Gordon||Drive to End Hunger||189.673|
|28||41||Kurt Busch||Haas Automation Made in America||189.553|
|29||23||Alex Bowman||Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry||189.514|
|30||95||Michael McDowell||JPO Absorbents||189.148|
|31||26||Cole Whitt||Speed Stick Toyota Camry||189.115|
|33||38||David Gilliland||Love's Travel Stops||188.732|
|34||13||Casey Mears||No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS||188.534|
|35||34||David Ragan||Taco Bell||188.455|
|36||83||Ryan Truex||Burger King Toyota||188.422|
|37||98||Josh Wise||Phil Parsons Racing||188.258|
|39||7||Michael Annett||Pilot Flying J Chevrolet||187.806|
|40||40||Landon Cassill||Hillman Racing||187.559|
|42||31||Ryan Newman||Quicken Loans||186.89|