The NASCAR Awards and Champion Celebration on Thursday, December 2, is going to feature one of country music’s biggest stars. Multiplatinum-selling performer Jake Owen will kick off the event in Nashville with a special performance.
NASCAR issued a press release on Tuesday, November 30, and confirmed that Owen will hit the stage at the start of the annual event honoring the biggest names in stock car racing. He will perform his single, “Best Thing Since Backroads.”
This champion celebration will serve as the second time that Owen performed at a NASCAR event. He previously set the stage for the 2019 Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway with a pre-race concert.
The 2021 NASCAR Awards will not air live for fans at home. However, they can watch the entire event, including Owen’s performance, on Saturday, December 4 at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Once the country performer finishes entertaining those in attendance, NASCAR will honor the champions from the 2021 Cup Series, Xfinity Series, and Camping World Truck Series seasons.
The 16 Cup Series playoff drivers and champions from the Xfinity Series, Truck Series, and ARCA Menards Series will also entertain fans on the streets of Nashville the night before Owen’s performance. They will take part in the Burnouts on Broadway presented by DoorDash, which will run from 6:30 – 8 p.m. CT on Wednesday, December 1.
The Annual Ceremony Makes Its Return to Music City
The 2021 Champions Week celebration marks the second time that NASCAR’s elite have headed to Nashville for a season-ending week of events. They previously visited Music City for the 2019 Champions Week and then took part in a remote awards ceremony in 2020 due to COVID-19.
The annual celebration of stock car racing dates back to the 1981 season when Darrell Waltrip won the Winston Cup Series championship over Bobby Allison. NASCAR held an awards ceremony in New York City, kicking off a tradition that lasted until the 2009 season when the sanctioning body made another significant change.
Jimmie Johnson won the fourth of his five consecutive titles in 2009 after holding off Mark Martin in the points race. He and his fellow champions then headed to Las Vegas instead of New York for the annual awards celebration. The annual event remained in Sin City until the 2019 season when Kyle Busch celebrated his second Cup Series championship with a trip to Nashville and some burnouts on Broadway.
The First Event in Nashville Featured Some Big Names
When NASCAR headed to Nashville for the first time, they brought in some big names to help out. There were multiple country stars that performed, as well as former football players and reality TV stars that helped introduce awards.
Chris Janson performed after replacing Sam Hunt in the lineup and put his talents on display in front of the Bill France Cup. Similarly, Cole Swindell took the stage during the NASCAR Awards for his own performance while Lee Brice served as one of the presenters.
Several other special guests took part in the stacked event. The list included professional wrestler Sheamus, former Tennessee Titans running back Eddie George, former Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, and reality TV star Kristin Cavallari.
The NASCAR Awards will now return to Nashville for a jam-packed week, which will likely feature even more special guests. Owen will kick off the ceremony with his performance and set up a special night in Music City.