By Brody Jones
At every other track on the NASCAR circuit, driver introductions are, generally, a rather boring and bland affair. Usually, the introductions are just an announcer saying where a driver is starting and his name. Occasionally, a driver will bring their family on stage, but that’s about the only variety to your typical driver introduction ceremony. But at Bristol, it’s a totally different kind of animal. Before the race, drivers, in a page almost out of professional wrestling, come out to their selection of introduction music. The songs range from a college fight song (Dave Blaney’s choice of the Ohio State Buckeyes fight song), to classic rock (for example, Kurt Busch’s selection of “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” by George Thorogood) to TV theme songs (Carl Edwards’ choice of the “Cheers” theme song and Ryan Newman picking “The Dukes Of Hazzard” theme song) and everything in between. In the past, songs from movies (The “2001: A Space Odyssey” theme that Elliott Sadler picked last year) and even, somewhat appropriately, pro wrestling music (David Reutimann’s selection last year of “The Game” by Motorhead)
In another quirky twist, of sorts, the drivers do their own introductions. Last year, this led to some controversy when Brad Keselowski took the microphone at last year’s spring race and declared that “Kyle Busch is an ass.” Could this year see another interesting moment such as that during driver introductions that could very well live in Bristol immortality, along with Jeff Gordon’s shoving match with Matt Kenseth and Shane Hmiel giving Dale Jarrett the middle finger? With some of the combustible personalities in the garage area, there is absolutely no telling exactly what could wind up being said on a live microphone.
Things such as this to add to the Bristol experience still make the track a “must-see” event, even if the racing there has somewhat been tamed with the advent of the progressive banking. Incorporating music to driver introductions and letting the drivers introduce themselves is all part of the experience of going to Bristol. It’s all part of making Bristol its own unique experience. Some have argued that other NASCAR tracks should follow Bristol’s response. But would that really be such aa good thing? Don’t misunderstand me, I think that this is a great addition to the experience of Bristol, buit if every other track took Bristol’s lead, it would perhaps cheapen the experience that Bristol provides with the introduction music. Think about it, if every track did, in fact, follow Bristol’s lead, would the fans get nearly as psyched up about the entrance music as they have so far? Probably not. Sure, they would still be pumped up but their enthusiasm might be slightly tempered. But on the other hand, it would spice up tracks that don’t have a lot of charisma to them, such as California and Michigan, in particular.
At the end of the day, the main thing that matters is the fans and the verdict is that fans really like these unique introductions and it likely will only be a matter of time before other tracks follow the example of Bristol. It has been said that music is the universal language. Such is definitely the case at “The World’s Fastest Half-Mile” where whether you like old TV show themes, 80′s music, metal, classic rock, country, or even praise and worship music, you’ll likely find something to suit your musical tastes. Who knows? Some of the drivers intro-music choices just might surprise you. Bet you never pictured Landon Cassill “Rick-Rolling” ristol fans to Rick Astley or Paul Menard coming out to such heavy metal as “Concrete Jungle” by Black Label Society, now would you?