The Coca-Cola 600 takes place on Sunday, May 30, providing NASCAR drivers with the opportunity to honor military members that gave their lives in the line of duty. Kyle Busch is among this group, and he will bring back the red, white, and blue No. 18 M&M’S scheme. He will drive the 600 Miles of Remembrance while honoring Pennsylvania Army National Guard Specialist Derek Holland.
A Mars Wrigley Associate, Chad Ace, nominated Holland as the Coca-Cola 600 approached. Ace served with Holland in Afghanistan. According to a press release from Mars Wrigley, Holland had a reputation for being a dedicated soldier with a great sense of humor and willingness to help others regardless of the circumstance.
According to Military Times, Specialist Holland served in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard from 2006 to 2008. He tragically lost his life to a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. The bomb struck Holland’s Humvee near the town of Zormat and killed an Air Force major serving with the Provincial Reconstruction Team. The bomb also wounded the vehicle’s gunner.
Joe Gibbs Racing Runs the Patriotic Scheme Each Coca-Cola 600
The red, white, and blue M&M’S scheme is not a new design; JGR runs the patriotic scheme at Charlotte Motor Speedway during the special Memorial Day Weekend race. However, there is no need to make major changes. The Mars Wrigley team came up with a fitting design for the 600 Miles of Remembrance, and they choose to put the emphasis on the names that grace the windshield each year.
The last three times that Busch has competed in the Coca-Cola 600 with the red, white, and blue scheme, he has contended for the win. He finished fourth during the 2020 iteration while Brad Keselowski raced to Victory Lane. Busch took third place in 2019 while his teammate Martin Truex Jr. captured the checkered flag.
In 2018, however, Busch turned in his best performance at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He held off Truex, Denny Hamlin, and Keselowski during the Coca-Cola 600 and won the Crown Jewel race. Busch led 377 of the 400 laps and swept all three stages of the race. According to NASCAR, he became the first driver to win a race at every active track.
Busch Will Now Try to Win the Busch Pole in the Patriotic Scheme
When the No. 18 M&M’S Toyota Camry rolls off the hauler, it will not be for the opening laps of the Coca-Cola 600. Instead, Busch will have the opportunity to get behind the wheel of his stock car for some practice laps, as well as qualifying sessions.
NASCAR announced prior to the first-ever race weekend at Circuit of the Americas that practice and qualifying would return for two weeks. The first weekend would give the drivers the opportunity to prepare for an unfamiliar track. The second would set them up for success in the Crown Jewel race. Busch last won the pole in 2018, the same year that he dominated all three stages and made history.
According to Fox Sports’ Bob Pockrass, Busch and his Cup Series peers will first have the opportunity to practice on Friday. They will take some laps around Charlotte Motor Speedway to get their cars dialed in. They will qualify on Saturday while the Xfinity Series and ARCA Menards Series drivers prepare for their respective races.
The Coca-Cola 600 will then take place on Sunday evening at 6 p.m. ET. Fox will broadcast the race while Mike Joy, Jeff Gordon, and Clint Bowyer call the action from the booth. Regan Smith and Jamie Little will provide updates from pit road while Larry McReynolds will provide analysis from the Fox Sports studio.