This weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway, drivers have a chance to offer insight into their personality and lives by selecting a song to represent them during driver introductions.
At first, it seemed like a simple idea to pick out a song that represented each. But if one listens to or follows an entire song, things tend to veer a little off course from the original idea. So matching a song with a driver can become a bit difficult.
Forget most of the lyrics. After all, almost all of them delve off into some area that really doesn't fit a NASCAR driver anyway. So just concentrate on the chorus or the segment that can be played during that brief introductory period. Or sometimes just the title. That way, there's no issue or confusion when a songwriter throws in a wayward line about a relationship failing or a bad moment that really doesn't fit a driver's personality. It's the spirit of the song that matters anyway.
Then there's a lot more room to both choose a song and snippet from it when it comes to representing either a season, a personality or just having a little fun. In this realm, driver introductions could be a snappy affair, a quick tidbit from a song as a driver waves to the crowd and then exits stage right.
While they have made their choices now, here's what some of them should have gone with.
Points leader Kevin Harvick is enjoying a stellar start to the season in a year many expected both his contract status and the setbacks of the 2009 season to haunt him. Not now. Instead, he's taken over the standings and shocked his competitors. His theme song: Green Day's "Time of your life." (And no, the "Good Riddance" alternate title is not meant to apply to RCR, but rather the demons of his racing past).
Matt Kenseth has rallied nicely, too. But there's a lot more going on in Kenseth's world these days, including balancing fatherhood of both a teenager and an infant, traveling with a larger family and melding with a new crew chief. He's rallied and showing his previous championship form on the track as well. His theme song: It's cliche -- and not the music Kenseth listens to -- but Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger" truly fits this man. (Sorry, had to use it.)
Jimmie Johnson is obvious. There's really only one way to go with this driver. His theme song: Queen's "We are the champions." (Alternate: Tina Turner's "Simply the best").
Mark Martin seems to never age and pushes the boundaries of competitiveness at 51, proving that years are just numbers. He may still be competing when Joey Logano retires. His theme song? Tim McGraw's "My Next 30 Years."
Paul Menard has burst into NASCAR fans' awareness this season. A relative unknown just trying to stay locked into the top 35 for years, he's now ninth in the standings in his first season with Richard Petty Motorsports. His theme song: Men at Work's "Who can it be now?"
Joey Logano , at 19, is in his second season of Cup competition and off to a strong start. He's earned a pair of top-10 finishes this season and is 14th in the standings. His theme song: Irene Cara's "What a feeling."
Kyle Busch isn't having the season he wants on the track, but things are certainly looking up for the Joe Gibbs Racing driver elsewhere. His theme song: "Going to the chapel."
Kasey Kahne has undergone significant change over the course of his career, without making changes himself. Originally joining Evernham Motorsports, he has watched that team merge and become Gillett Evernham Motorsports and then merge and become Richard Petty Motorsports. Opinion of him, in the eyes of fans, hasn't changed over time, though. His theme song (as would be picked by his legion of female fans): Right Said Fred's "I'm too sexy."
Ryan Newman 's love of the outdoors is well-known. And while everyone knows that his wife, Krissie, is also a fan of fishing, it's just too tempting. His theme song: Brad Paisley's "I'm gonna miss her."
Carl Edwards may spend the next several days fielding unwanted questions about his recent run-in with Brad Keselowski at Atlanta Motor Speedway. But he and his wife, Kate, enjoyed their first free week with their new daughter. His theme song: "Hush, little baby."
Elliott Sadler , also a new father, enjoys both his country roots and his relationship with country music singer Blake Shelton. He even appeared in one of Shelton's music videos. To that end, his song selection is simple. His theme song: Shelton's "Hillbilly Bone."
Brad Keselowski finds himself deep in the standings in the final race before the field switches to 2010 points for the top-35 cutoff. That's due, in part, to his crash at Atlanta with Edwards -- a retaliatory move that has caused message boards to light up pointing out both the error of the move and the error of Keselowski's past moves. His theme song: Inner Circle's "Bad Boys."
And finally Jeff Gordon . The four-time champion's career seems to have stormed by at warp speed. He's still at the top of his game despite life changes that include a daughter and a second child on the way. It's all gone by pretty fast, though. His theme song: Kenny Chesney's "Don't Blink."