CHARLOTTE, NC (Mark Price/The Charlotte Observer) - The smell of burning rubber is apparently an aphrodisiac for NASCAR fans.
On Sunday, not one, but three couples got married at Charlotte Motor Speedway prior to the Coca-Cola 600.
All three weddings were staged with the blessing of the speedway in the winner's circle. (For good lucky, maybe?)
By coincidence, all the grooms were former military, including wounded warriors Mike Lamb and Jon Miller.
Lamb married a co-worker, Taylor Fulp, from Rural Hall, and Miller married Tiffany Chrialilli from Olean, New York.
"We met just by chance," said Miller, who was wounded in Iraq in 2006. "We went for a ride on the Harley one day and she has been with me ever since. Getting married down here is impromptu. We are with friends and family here. I can't think of a better place to get married."
Lamb was wounded in Afghanistan in 2010.
"I came here last year with Wounded Warriors," Lamb said in a statement released by the track, "and it was meaningful having all my military brothers here with us. This is the best you could ask for."
The couples aren't the first to get married prior to the Coca-Cola 600, including some who met at the track. The Observer has covered some of the weddings, including one held in the campgrounds.
Having three veterans get married at the track fit in with the speedway's planned Coca-Cola 600 salute to the military Sunday. Thousands of servicemen and women were scheduled to participate in a military demonstration, including four F-16 fighter jets flying over during the National Anthem.
The final wedding of the day involved retired Army Staff Sergeant Jay Lapan and Lindsay Coppolla from Southington, Connecticut. They met when they were young and dated all through high school, until Lapan went into the military. Even then, they stayed in touch.
"When I got out of the military we saw each other and that was it," said Lapan, in a statement. "This was actually a surprise from Lindsay. She (Lindsay) knows how much it means to me."
"We fell in love." Coppola said. "He is a huge NASCAR fan and now I am too. I did a little research and found out you could get married here. And, we were coming down here anyway."
As for where the three couples intended to spend their honeymoon, that wasn't clear.