Memorial Day in the United States is a time to remember and honor the soldiers who lost their lives while serving in the United States military.
With that, Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway takes on a special meaning for those in the NASCAR community. It will be the annual “600 Miles of Remembrance,” during which each car in the field will carry the name of a fallen soldier on the windshield.
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Red, White & Blue Toyota, has the honor of displaying the name of Pennsylvania Army National Guard Specialist Derek Holland on his windshield during NASCAR’s longest event. Holland, a native of Wind Gap, Pennsylvania, tragically lost his life in June 2008 in Afghanistan. Specialist Holland takes on even more meaningful significance to M&M’S and Mars Wrigley as he was nominated by Mars associate Chad Ace. Not only is Ace a Mars associate, he also served in the U.S. military, and Busch and the M&M’S Red, White, and Blue team will thank him for his service by having Holland ride along with them this weekend at Charlotte.
In addition to honoring the fallen soldier, the No. 18 Toyota will feature a patriotic paint scheme that celebrates M&M’S Red, White & Blue Mix that is available for fans to show their patriotic spirit in stores throughout the summer.
As for the 1.5-mile Charlotte oval he’ll be racing on, Busch has managed to enjoy plenty of success there with 14 top-five finishes and 19 top-10s in his 32 previous Cup Series starts over the past 15-plus seasons. In addition to solid Cup Series finishes, Busch has captured nine NASCAR Xfinity Series wins at Charlotte – May 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2010, October 2008 and 2009, both May and October 2013, and May 2020. He also has eight NASCAR Camping World Truck Series wins at the track – 2005, 2006, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2017 and 2019.
While he had gone to victory lane early and often in the Xfinity and Truck Series, Busch only recently broke through in the Cup Series at Charlotte. His 2017 win in the non-points All-Star Race was his first Cup Series win of any kind at Charlotte. The following year, in 2018, Busch was able to win there again, this time bringing home his first points-paying Cup Series win at the track and adding another crown jewel to his already impressive resume. Even more special, another fallen soldier’s name was able to help Busch on his ride to victory lane. SGT Eric Toth, who lost his life in Iraq in March 2005, adorned his windshield that day.
So, this Memorial Day weekend, Busch will look to bring home his second crown jewel win at Charlotte and, at the same time, honor Specialist Holland and all troops who have given the ultimate sacrifice, as well as those who continue to serve America and the Red, White & Blue.