The Coca-Cola 600 is an annual 600-mile (970 km) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points race held at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina during Memorial Day weekend. The event, when first held in 1960, became the first race to be held at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Run since 1960, it is the longest race on NASCAR's schedule at 600 miles (970 km). It is also unique for the fact that the race changes drastically from start to finish.
It starts around 6:20 PM and the track is bathed in sunlight for the first third of the race. The second third happens at dusk, and the final third under the lights, In 2016, with Memorial Day being on May 30, the race will be held on May 29, with the Sprint Showdown and the Sprint All-Star Race moving up, and the FedEx 400 will move from the last week in May to the third weekend in May before All-Star Weekend.
In the spring of 1959, Curtis Turner returned to Charlotte, North Carolina after viewing Bill France, Sr.'s Daytona International Speedway and had an idea of building a race track in the surrounding area. Turner thought he could borrow enough money to build a $750,000 track with 45,000 permanent seats on his property in Cabarrus County, North Carolina. Afterward, he learned that a group led by Bruton Smith had a similar idea to build a track near Pineville.
Smith and Turner formed an alliance to build the track, and they signed a contract with NASCAR to run a 600-mile event on Memorial Day. Once the construction crew broke ground, they found a layer of granite under the topsoil, making the construction costly. The area for the first turn alone used $70,000 worth of dynamite, making Turner's $750,000 construction plan near two million dollars. In the spring of 1960, Turner begged for a six-week postponement for the race after a snow storm delayed the pouring on concrete.
With two weeks remaining until the inaugural race, the paving subcontractor threatened to leave the job site for lack of payment. To solve the problem, Turner and one of his friends threatened the paving subcontractor with a shotgun and a revolver to make sure the track's backstretch would be completed. The first event at the recently completed Charlotte Motor Speedway was held on June 19, 1960.