F1, IndyCar, NASCAR: Memorial Day tradition returns Tomorrow

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F1, IndyCar, NASCAR: Memorial Day tradition returns Tomorrow

Postby Bryce Turner » Sat May 27, 2017 2:40 pm

By: Bryce Turner

This weekend marks another chapter in arguably the biggest day in motorsports. Three prestigious races, back-to-back-to-back.

When the month of May begins, I know it’s getting close. I make sure to tell everyone, I’ll be busy all day long on Sunday, May 28. I’ll get up at 7:15, put on the TV, watch racing, and go to bed when it’s all finished.

The Memorial Day weekend in the US is one I look forward to here in Canada every year. Each sport has its holiday. NFL fans watch football all day on US Thanksgiving, NBA viewers tune in all afternoon and night on Christmas Day, college football fans gather to watch the Tournament of Roses Parade followed by some games, headlined by the Rose Bowl itself. Memorial Day, that’s auto racing’s turn!

It’s hard not to get excited when there’s three of the most prestigious races on the planet. Formula 1 in Monaco, the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” the Indianapolis 500 and the longest race in terms of distance for NASCAR Cup, the Coca-Cola 600.

Arguably the headliner of the bunch (and it’s really hard to pick a headliner with such important races) is the Indy 500, the most historic of the bunch, first held in 1911. The race was always held on May 30th, an observation called Decoration Day south of the border. The only time this changed was when May 30 fell on a Sunday, otherwise whatever day of the week, it was always on May 30.

The Monaco Grand Prix is one of F1’s biggest races, held on the streets of Monte Carlo in the principality of Monaco (a tiny country on the south east of France). The first race was in held in 1936, though it was run just a few times before becoming a fixture on the calendar in 1955.

The most recent addition is the Coca-Cola 600, held at Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina. The speedway was designed and built in 1959 by Bruton Smith and his business partner (also a driver at the time) Curtis Turner. The two decided to run a 600-mile race (making it 100 miles longer than the Indy) to be held on the same day as the open-wheel event. The first World 600 was held in 1960, though on a different day than Indy.

So, how did these races combine to create such a wonderful day of racing? In 1971, Decoration Day became an official holiday, Memorial Day, to be held on the last Monday of May. After 1971, the Indy 500 was held on the Memorial Day weekend. At that time, NASCAR started doing the same. Since 1971, the Indy 500 and World 600 were held on the same day 39 times (there were other races scheduled for the same day that were postponed by rain).

On some years, Formula 1 also did the same, especially in recent times. With Monaco added to the mix, all three races were held on the same day 17 times since 1971, including a current streak of every year since 2011. Allowing us to watch some of the most prestigious races in the world in an all-day marathon, having breakfast in Monaco, lunch in Indianapolis and dinner in Charlotte (I’m not sure how many people use this breakfast, lunch, dinner saying, but I remember FOX NASCAR analyst Darrell Waltrip mentioning it).

So with the triple-header of racing less than a day away, here’s a look at the broadcast schedule (you know what I’ll be doing). Whether you have the pleasure of watching one of these races in person, or look forward to watching on TV, I hope you enjoy all the action! And check back here at carnuts.ca for recaps of the events.

Program/Event Time (ET/US TV) US TV Time (ET/CAN TV) CAN TV

Formula 1 pre-race 7:30 – 8:00 AM NBC 6:30 – 7:55 AM TSN 5
Formula 1 Monaco 8:00 – 10:00 AM NBC 7:55 – 10:00 AM TSN 1/5
Formula 1 post-race 10:00 – 11:10 AM TSN 5

Indy 500 pre-race 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM ABC 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM City, SN360
Indianapolis 500 12:00 – 3:30 PM ABC 12:00 – 3:30 PM City, SN360

NASCAR Final Practice
(rerun)
3:30 – 4:30 PM FSR (FOX Sports Racing)
NASCAR RaceDay 4:30 – 5:30 PM FS1 4:30 – 5:30 PM FSR
NASCAR pre-race 5:30 – 6:00 PM FOX 5:30 – 6:00 PM TSN
NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 6:00 – 10:30 PM FOX 6:00 – 10:30 PM TSN
NASCAR Victory Lane 11:30 PM – 12:00 AM FS1 11:30 PM – 12:00 AM FSR
Bryce Turner is chief NASCAR correspondent for carnuts.ca.
Bryce Turner
 
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