News & Media

Borchetta bridging gap between racing, music

July 26, 2011, Joe Menzer,

Scott Borchetta, president and CEO of Big Machine Label Group that manages such country-music acts as Rascal Flatts, Reba McEntire, Martina McBride and Taylor Swift, answers this week's six questions.

1. This Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is officially named the Brickyard 400 presented by Big Machine How did that come about?

"I say my favorite three things are my wife, music and racing. And it depends on the day in which order -- although my wife is usually first."


Borchetta: The opportunity for Big Machine to present the Brickyard 400 is really a dream come true for me. I grew up racing and raced at the Nashville Fairgrounds in the NASCAR weekly series -- and I grew up in the record business.

So I've been working for years to continue to connect the dots. And so when this came about from conversations we had about having [the race] be presented by a specific artist, we came up with the idea that we really should do the whole label group -- and really try to mobilize a really big entertainment aspect to bring a lot more noise and entertainment to race day.

2. So now who all is going to be performing live prior to Sunday's race?

Borchetta: I'm thrilled to say that Rascal Flatts, Reba McEntire, The Band Perry, Justin Moore and Brantley Gilbert will be on site performing on race day. It's a huge deal.

3. So it wasn't difficult to get the artists on board?

Borchetta: Well, the great news is that I've got great artists who understand the loyalty that comes with NASCAR and the shared audience, and also the potential new audience. Reba, in particular, has become a big race fan with her [21-year-old] son Shelby [Blackstock] racing now [in various stock-car and open-wheel events].

4. Well, we know you've also converted Martina McBride into a big race fan, right? She recently told us she enjoys going to the races, especially with you ...

Borchetta [laughing]: Yes, well, Martina is great. She has been very kind to my addiction. She's been a great sport.

5. So you used to drive? How did you get involved in racing?

Borchetta: I grew up racing bicycle motocross in southern California, and we started to get interest from the motorcycle companies, wanting us to move up from bicycles to motorcycles. And once my dad found out they wanted to put me on a motorcycle, he said, 'You need a roll cage around you.' So we started racing quarter-midgets.

I got away from that and moved away to Nashville, but I always remained a fan of NASCAR and IndyCar. When the Legends cars came to Nashville to race for a cure for diabetes, I hustled my way into a practice. ... You had Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn and Tim McGraw, all these performers who were also race fans, and they all wanted to jump into these cars. So it all came right back. I said, 'I've gotta do this.' So I started racing the Legends in a series the year after that first race. I kept racing and ended up becoming state champion and ran in the nationals; then we moved up to the NASCAR weekly series, where I ran the Super Trucks at the Nashville Fairgrounds predominantly. I still have the track record there. We won the championship three years in a row at the Fairgrounds -- so I want to see that place stay open, by the way.

6. Most people probably don't immediately realize your extensive, life-long connection to racing, do they?

Borchetta [laughing again]: It's really in my DNA. I say my favorite three things are my wife, music and racing. And it depends on the day in which order -- although my wife is usually first.