Intro songs add personal touch at Bristol

C'mon NASCAR fans, raise your hands up!

Last fall at Bristol Motor Speedway, a new tradition was born. The 43 racers participating in that day's Sprint Cup race choose their entrance music for driver introductions. As each driver emerged through the walkway set up in Turn 3, the song of his choice blared over the speakers. Fun for drivers and fans, Sunday's race, the Food City 500, gives drivers the opportunity to pick a new round of songs.

The choice of song adds a personal touch to a standard, fairly ho-hum part of pre-race ceremonies. To see the full song list as compiled on, click here. I like to look at the drivers' selections for a couple different reasons.

Sometimes a driver chooses a song that describes his personality. That would be the case with Brad Keselowski, who picked "Won't Back Down" by Tom Petty. Keselowski's aggressive driving style has been under a microscope since Carl Edwards wrecked the young driver at Atlanta, seeking payback for an earlier incident in that race as well as for past run-ins between the two. Keselowski's reaction? Yup, the song title says it all.

Other drivers pick music from a band or a genre of music they like. Bobby Labonte is a country music fan, like myself, so I liked when he chose "Chicken Fried" by the Zack Brown Band for the fall race. This time he'll come out to "People Are Crazy" by Billy Currington, another popular country song.

On the other hand, I had no idea what Matt Kenseth's musical tastes were until I learned of his song choices. Kenseth is a fan of the heavy metal group Godsmack. For the fall race he choose their song "The Enemy" and on Sunday he'll be introduced to "Whiskey Hangover."

Clint Bowyer, an Elvis Presley fan, picked "CC Rider" last fall. On Sunday he'll make his entrance to one of my favorite songs by the King, "Burning Love" (hunka hunka!).

For his song selection, Ryan Newman is supporting an artist he signed for his burgeoning music label, MPR Entertainment Group. The singer is Bridgette Tatum, and Newman will walk out to her single "Hillbilly Rockstar."

Some drivers go with songs that are typically crowd pleasures and get the audience pumped up (as if they weren't already!). Usually any song by AC/DC or Guns N Roses accomplishes this mission.

In the AC/DC department, Aric Amirola will be introduced by "Back in Black" and Marcos Ambrose will come out to "Thunderstruck." Ambrose may have picked the song in honor of Bristol, nicknamed "Thunder Valley." Although the song works for Ambrose, who has one top 5 and one top 10 in two starts at the track, I preferred his song for the fall race, "Men Down Under," a fun reference to the Australian driver's roots.

As for Gun N Roses, Jeff Burton and Greg Biffle will walk out to "Welcome to the Jungle" - perhaps letting us know how they feel about racing at Bristol? - while Paul Menard chose "Paradise City."

Two drivers are promoting their sponsors with their song choices. Martin Truex Jr. will emerge to the tune of the "NAPA Know How" jingle (as if you weren't sick of the commercials already!). Kevin Conway, driver of the Extenze car, picked "Big Time" by Peter Gabriel. Extenze, "Big Time" ... get it? Conway is becoming a master of the double entendre.

A few drivers are using the same songs they picked last year. Elliot Sadler will be introduced by the "2001: A Space Odyssey" theme, which wrestling fans may recognize as "Nature Boy" Rick Flair's theme song. Tony Stewart will rock out to "Bawitdaba" from good friend Kid Rock. And Kyle Busch is sticking with Kanye West's "Amazing." If Busch is referring to his track record at Bristol, it is pretty amazing: he swept both races last year, accounting for two of his three wins at the track. Altogether he has five top 5s and seven top 10s at Bristol.

Then some songs just amuse and even mystify me. Like Scott Speed's choice of "Love Shack" by the B52s. I just have to laugh at that one! Speed's got a great sense of humor that he shows on Twitter - maybe he'll let us in on the joke?

And Kurt Busch with the "Dukes of Hazzard" theme. Is Busch that big a fan of the TV show? Is he envious of the General Lee? I loved his choice for the fall race, Cake's "Going the Distance," which Juan Pablo Montoya will be using Sunday. This one I don't get, but the show did feature a fast car, so I'm willing to let it slide!

The songs for a few drivers, including Dale Earnhardt Jr., have yet to be determined. If Junior is looking for ideas, I have a few. He appeared in the music videos for all three of the following songs: "The Road I'm On" by Three Doors Down; "Rock Star" by Nickelback and "Show Me What You Got" by Jay-Z (which also features future JRM driver Danica Patrick). If I had to pick just one, I'd go with "Show Me What You Got" - let's see what Jr. has for Bristol this weekend, one of his best tracks.

Photo of Bristol Motor Speedway from NASCAR Media

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author.

What do you think of the drivers' choices for their intro songs? Leave your comments below.
Intro songs add personal touch at Bristol Intro songs add personal touch at Bristol Reviewed by Rebecca Kivak on Thursday, March 18, 2010 Rating: 5