Country music and NASCAR’s biggest races continue to be a winning combination, as once again the Sunday race has a country singer on hand to sing the National Anthem. This week, it’s Ashton Shepherd in Bristol, Tenn. I like Ashton, but somehow after seeing Keith Urban open the season at Daytona, and Little Big Town Dierks Bentley at races after that, I don’t think Bristol did as well with their selection of anthem-singing country artist.
But this is Bristol, and those 170,000 race fans probably aren’t there to see who sings the national anthem. This has been a full weekend of racing fun in Bristol, and will be capped off with the Food City 500 later today.
Fans got to watch Pole Day qualifying on Friday; the Nationwide race on Saturday followed by the legends race, with drivers like Junior Johnson, Cale Yarborough, Harry Gant, Rusty Wallace, Terry Labonte and Sterling Martin in the driver’s seats. And of course, the big Food City 500 later today.
Food City Family Race Night was held at BMS Friday night. The event includes food, entertainment, and autograph sessions with the drivers. Everything at the event is free, and fans area always willing to wait in the lines to meet their favorite drivers, snap a few photographs and get an autograph. This year, the first 150 fans inside the gate got to attend the meet and greet with one of Nascar’s greatest drivers, Richard Petty.
NASCAR fans know that the spring and fall races in Bristol have been completely sold out for at least a decade. But this year, there were tickets available for every race, including today’s Food City 500. That’s probably a sign of our current economic conditions – I guess people who have been holding on to their season tickets year after year just decided they couldn’t make the trip to Bristol this year. and while that was a good thing for fans who have been waiting years to buy the tickets, I have a feeling this is going to be the first time we see empty seats at the world-famous 1/2 mile oval track in Bristol.
I tried to find a video of Keith, Little Big Town or Dierks doing the anthem at one of this years previous races, but could find one. I did, however, find one of Keith at Daytona –it’s not the anthem, but at least it’s from a race. And it’s Keith! That’s probably enough, even if it wasn’t at Daytona.
I have to get ready for church, then fix something good for lunch, and then figure out what the rest of my Sunday will have in store. Will I watch the big race on TV? Probably not, I only need to know what went on the last five minutes so I can find out who won. You guys have a great Sunday, if you have a minute to dive into your e-mail, drop me a line. More later!