NASCAR team owner prepared for ’emotional’ Charlotte weekend

Joe Gibbs, Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR (Photo by David Jensen/Getty Images)
Joe Gibbs, Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR (Photo by David Jensen/Getty Images) /

Joe Gibbs talked about the “emotional” moment of silence that NASCAR has held during the Coca-Cola 600 the last several years.

Joe Gibbs Racing founding partner Interstate Batteries is both making a monetary donation to Semper Fi and America’s Fund ( and placing the charity logo on the hood of Christopher Bell’s No. 20 Toyota Camry for Sunday evening’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The Coca-Cola 600 is the longest race of the NASCAR season, and it is traditionally held on Memorial Day Sunday.

Memorial Day is a federal holiday for honoring and mourning the U.S. military personnel who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

NASCAR and its fanbase have long made sure that the emphasis of the weekend is on those who have served.

“Well, we’re excited about it; it’s one of our premier races,” team owner Joe Gibbs told Beyond the Flag. “We were fortunate enough to win it last year, and I think our guys were all excited. For our fanbase obviously, this is a huge deal. It’s our longest race, the biggest challenge for our cars, for our drivers.

“And for our fanbase, it’s something they really celebrate, and so this is our weekend where we celebrate all those who have sacrificed for all of us. And certainly our fanbase really has always been a group that celebrates our veterans, and this is a special emphasis.”

Gibbs also discussed the 30-second silent period that NASCAR instituted during the Coca-Cola 600 a few years ago, a moment of silence intended to honor those who have served.

“There will be a part of that race where they actually shut all the motors off,” Gibbs said. “There’s a quiet period, where everybody just thinks about all those who have sacrificed for us, those like [Army Sergeant] Jason [Smith], so that we can live the life we live. We spend time just focusing on all those who have gone before us. It’s an emotional time, and so it’s a big deal for us.”

This gesture was made in 2009, when the race was postponed from Memorial Day Sunday to Memorial Day itself. The field was stopped on the frontstretch, and crew members walked out onto pit road.

It was brought back in 2019, and it has been a part of the race ever since. The pace car collects the field and leads all the cars down pit road after the second of four stages of NASCAR’s longest race. The cars are completely shut off, and crew members walk out onto pit road for the 30-second remembrance. The race resumes afterward.

“I think it was it was NASCAR itself,” Gibbs said when asked how this gesture began. “Our fanbase, almost each and every week, celebrates our veterans. It’s a huge deal for our fanbase and I think that was something that [NASCAR] implemented.

“And I can tell you this, it’s an emotional time, because I think most of us do what we’re so excited about in life, charging around, getting to do all the things that we get to do, and so this is the time when we can actually stop and celebrate all those who went on before us — and hopefully get some people who would say, ‘I want to be involved, I want to try to help, I’ll go to and help.'”

dark. Next. All-time NASCAR Cup Series wins list

The Coca-Cola 600 is set to be broadcast live on Fox from Charlotte Motor Speedway beginning at 6:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 28. If you haven’t already done so, begin a free trial of FuboTV today!