And there was a familiar face on hand to get the massive crowd of around 150,000 people fired up for race day, in addition the 8.5 million plus viewers who tuned into Fox to watch the race on Sunday (the highest viewership numbers they’ve had in years):
Early numbers show that more than 8-and-a-half million people watched Sundays Daytona 500 on Fox an increase over last few years. Thanks for tuning in..hope you join us Sunday from SoCal!#DAYTONA500#NASCAR#nascarxfox#nascaronfox
At his media availability before his performance, he talked a little bit about the Next Gen cars they debuted Sunday and his thoughts on the big change in terms of how it will impact drivers and pit crews:
“Going from the 15-inch wheel to the 18-inch wheel and being 20 pounds lighter… I mean, there is going to be some benefits, I think hugely for some of the pit crews.
It’s going to be different for these guys out there today. But I’m excited to watch it, and it’s going to be a good race either way.”
Spot-on analysis there, Luke.
He continued with a little bit about his personal connection to racing and how he’s always loved NASCAR being from the home of racing in Charlotte, North Carolina:
“My grandfather was a courier who delivered paychecks to the drivers in Charlotte. I was born in Charlotte. So, I grew up around it.
I grew up watching it with my grandfather. It was always something that I loved. Country music and NASCAR, man, it just kinda goes together”
Couldn’t have said it any better myself.
Check out a few of his electric performances from Sunday’s race… the man knows how to get a NASCAR crowd fired UP:
“When It Rains It Pours”
I have to say… I did miss his epic Dale Earnhardt Sr. jacket he wore last year, but as an App State alum myself, I don’t mind the wardrobe change he had for this year’s race:
“Hell of a time this weekend. Real good times with real good folks. Thanks to Nascar for having us!”