News & Media

Six Pack: Talking music, racing and more with Luke Bryan

September 25, 2012, Joe Menzer,

Country music star grew up a NASCAR fan and enjoys playing pre-race concerts

Country-music star Luke Bryan, who recently sang the national anthem and performed a pre-race concert prior to the GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, answers this week's six questions.

1. Why do you enjoy playing in front of NASCAR fans like you've frequently said you do?

Bryan: It's always fun. This was the third time I've done a pre-race concert, and country music fans have the same passion that NASCAR fans do. Obviously everyone knows that a lot of times country music fans and NASCAR fans are one and the same, too. So it's always fun to feel the energy of the crowd before the race.

I think the fans obviously come for the race. But when guys like us come to put on a show, I think they also look at that as an added bonus. We're out there feeling their energy.

"Obviously everyone knows that a lot of times country music fans and NASCAR fans are one and the same, too. So it's always fun to feel the energy of the crowd before the race."


2. And you brought your young sons (4-year-old Thomas and 2-year-old Tatum) to the race at Chicagoland?

Bryan: Yeah, they're big Lightning McQueen fans. So they like to see the cars go around fast. They have fun being around it.

3. Are there any drivers you follow closely or maybe pull for over others?

Bryan: I did a club opening for Dale Jr. down in Jacksonville, Fla., a couple years ago. Jimmie Johnson and I are friends. I've done two of his Jimmie Jams. I'm sponsored by Miller Lite, and so Brad Keselowski and I have met a couple of times through that connection. So I follow the drivers and, yes, it's fun to have this connection with NASCAR.

You know, I'm still amazed that when I get to do country music shows, I get to go back stage and see what's going on behind the scenes. So when I get to go into the pits with my boys and see all that's going on, it's kind of like going back stage at a show for me. I'm like a kid myself when I get to go back there and see them work on the cars and stuff.

As far as pulling for drivers, uh, I'm not going to single drivers out. I just love sitting around, watching the races. I love the competitiveness of it.

4. Do you enjoy playing one type of venue over another, having played in all sorts of them?

Bryan: Myself, my band and my whole organization, whether we're playing for a room of 30 people or we're playing in front of 30,000, we go at it and enjoy it in the same way, the same fashion. We love being on stage and being part of the moment.

The thing about it is when you do the pre-race show, you're done about noon [for a 1 p.m. race]. So then our day is done and we can go sit back, have a few beers, and just watch the race.

5. Have you always followed NASCAR?

Bryan: Growing up in south Georgia (in Leesburg), following racing and souping up cars to make them go faster was certainly a way of life. So yeah, we grew up fans. My brother, who is passed away now, one of the big connections we had was that we were both big Dale Earnhardt fans. We used to really marvel, honestly, at what a great race-car driver he was. Obviously after his passing, those memories of me and my brother cheering him along are something I will always treasure.

6. And what would you tell the country music fan who maybe isn't into NASCAR yet?

Bryan: As far as country music fans who aren't into NASCAR, if you know the energy of the engines starting and the cars going so fast around the track, and you enjoy the lights coming down on a good country show when your favorite singer is hitting the stage, those are very similar experiences. They're just big moments, and I think that's what people pay their money for -- those big moments in the show. So if you're a country fan, you ought to be a NASCAR fan. And vice versa. I think the two just go hand-in-hand. At least that's my opinion of it.