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Former President Donald Trump plans to attend Coca-Cola 600 in NC this weekend

Former President Donald Trump plans to attend the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday, a high-ranking campaign official confirmed to McClatchy Monday afternoon.

The confirmation came after The Charlotte Business Journal posted on social media that Charlotte Motor Speedway General Manager Greg Walter said he was hearing that Trump was making plans to attend the race, which begins at 6 p.m.

The 600-mile race takes place annually in Concord, near Charlotte, the last weekend of May as part of the NASCAR Cup Series.

Campaign season

Trump is in a contentious election against President Joe Biden, as Biden tries to retain his presidency and Trump tries to reclaim it.

Trump’s visit coincides with the end of his trial in New York. He faces 34 felony charges for allegedly falsifying business records in order to cover up money he is accused of paying to adult film star Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about a tryst.

Trump might agree to testify as part of his defense this week, and closing arguments are currently scheduled for the Tuesday following the race.

His North Carolina visit also comes as the state Republican Party holds its annual convention in Greensboro over the weekend. Both Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Whatley and co-chair Lara Trump are expected to speak. Both are from North Carolina.

Whatley previously served as the state party’s chair. Lara Trump is the former president’s daughter-in-law.

It’s unclear if Trump plans to visit the GOP convention while in state for the race.

Trump’s NASCAR ties

Trump attended a NASCAR event during the 2020 campaign season at the Daytona 500, when he served as grand marshal.

It was also during a campaign event that Trump supporters began using the phrase “Let’s Go Brandon” as a slight against Biden, after a journalist misreported in September 2021 that a NASCAR crowd was chanting that phrase, instead of using a vulgarity that begins with “f” followed by Biden’s name.

More about the Coca-Cola 600

The Coca-Cola 600 is considered one of NASCAR’s four crown jewel races, along with the Daytona 500, the Southern 500 at Darlington, and the Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis.

The race is notable both for being the longest race on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule and changing mid-race from daylight to night.

Ryan Blaney, who races for Team Penske, won last year’s Coca-Cola 600.

The Coca-Cola 600 also brings a weekend of fun, with games, food trucks and driver appearances at Circle K Speed Street beginning Friday. Speed Street will also include concerts by Hairball and Kameron Marlowe.

The Coca-Cola 600 is the first of two races at the 1.5-mile quad-oval race track in Concord, ahead of the fall playoff race — where Charlotte Motor Speedway lays out a road course known as the “Charlotte Roval.”

The annual spring race at Charlotte — widely regarded as the sport’s “home,” as its teams are based in the area — also comes at a huge time for motorsports.

The running of the Indianapolis 500, known as the greatest spectacle in racing, precedes the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday. And this year, NASCAR star Kyle Larson will be racing in the Indy 500 and starting fifth, before flying into Charlotte for the Coke 600 in the evening. Formula 1’s Monaco Grand Prix will be run Sunday as well.