CHARLOTTE, NC (WFXG) - Memorial Day is a time to stop and honor those that serve our country to enable us to enjoy the freedoms that we have today.
It is also the longest day for auto racing as two of racing's most prestigious events, the Indianapolis 500 and the Coke 600 are run.
Kurt Busch tried to accomplish both and after a 6th place finish at Indy, he looked strong early at Charlotte till a blown engine ended his day on lap 271.
As Busch recovered from his 1100 mile quest in the garage, Jimmie Johnson began his quest to return to domination at Charlotte on the track.
It had been 11 races since the six time champion had found his way to victory lane which equaled the longest winless streak of his career. To break that streak at Charlotte seemed fitting on a track that has always been good to him.
"It's a serious team effort to finish 600 miles," said Johnson after the race. "And then win here, especially as hard as we had to run throughout the night, the pace we had to keep up, certainly proud of that."
Johnson's win was his fourth 600 victory and seventh point race win at NASCAR's home track making him the most successful driver in the track's history. Despite the success, Johnson still has that special feeling in victory lane.
"There's some tracks that have a bigger awareness to fans and media and others outside of racing," continued Johnson. "But this track, when you come here and run well, there's just something about it."
Many were talking about the No. 48 team's lack of wins in 2014 but Johnson wasn't concerned and would have been content to wait till late in the season to start his win streak.
"Granted, tonight simplifies things. We'll take it, move on," said Johnson on his victory. "We really want to heat up and win races later in the season, especially before the Chase starts."
As the series moves to another one of Johnson's favorite tracks, this could be the time that the No. 48 team gains their momentum and reestablished themselves as the dominate team in the sport.
"You never know when you're going to peak and when everything's going to be just right," continued Johnson. "We'll hopefully peak at the right time."
All I can say is that you never want to wake up a sleeping giant. Something tells me that we just did.