Cassadee Pope has the opportunity to combine her country and racing roots. The Grammy-nominated, Platinum-certified singer-songwriter will co-host the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Awards alongside NBC’s Rutledge Wood. The show is set to take place Dec. 5 at the Music City Center in Nashville, Tennessee.
“I’m nervous, but I’m excited,” Pope told NASCAR.com on Wednesday. “I’m excited to be co-hosting with somebody that I really respect — Rutledge Wood is great — and co-hosting on a subject I do know a good amount about.
“I’ve already been prepping. I’ve already been keeping track of what’s going on and all the little fights, all the little dramas that happen in NASCAR because I’m definitely going to pick on some people. I’m excited. It’s going to be fun.”
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Pope, the former lead vocalist of Hey Monday, grew up watching NASCAR with her grandfather, who raced stock cars himself at Lernerville Speedway in Pennsylvania. She sang her first national anthem in 2009 prior to a NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Auto Club Speedway and has since done so before multiple Monster Energy Series events.
After winning Season 3 of “The Voice,” Pope signed in 2013 with Big Machine Label Group, which was a Chip Ganassi Racing sponsor at the time. That tie helped Pope build her NASCAR connections and relationships.
“My all-time favorite driver is (Dale) Earnhardt,” Pope said. “It’s really freaky how much my grandpa looks like him. When I was a kid and I’d watch races, I’d think it was pre-recorded because I was like, ‘Oh, you were racing today. Look at you. You’re on TV.’ I was a kid thinking my grandpa was Earnhardt.”
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Pope’s grandfather was second only to her mother to find out about the co-hosting gig.
“I screamed when I saw the email because it’s just not something I ever could have seen happening for myself,” Pope said. “And I love those moments in my career where it’s just so unfathomable that I was just like, oh, I didn’t even realize that was an option let alone it would ever happen to me.”
Once she fully committed to country music, Pope’s career blew up. She quickly came out with her No. 1 debut album, “Frame By Frame,” highlighted by her Platinum-selling single “Wasting All These Tears” that earned “Breakthrough Video of the Year” at the 2014 CMT Music Awards. She then paired up with Chris Young for “Think of You,” which received a 2017 Grammy nomination for “Best Country Duo/Group.”
Pope recently released her second solo album, “STAGES,” featuring singles “Take You Home,” “One More Red Light” and “If My Heart Had A Heart.”
Now, she’s adding NASCAR co-host to her resume.
“I can’t think of two things that go together better than country music and NASCAR,” Pope said. “That’s why I was (excited) it’s the first year they’re having the NASCAR Awards in Nashville. I think those two go together: NASCAR is a family sport, country music is a family genre.”