The 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season is not yet complete, but officials are already planning for next year. For example, the hosts of NASCAR Race Hub revealed on Sunday, June 13, that a country superstar will kick off the year in style. Luke Combs will perform prior to the 2022 Daytona 500, marking the second season in a row.
Combs appeared virtually on the FS1 show on Sunday, confirming that he will be back in Florida for the season-opening race. “I grew up with the sport,” Combs said during his announcement video. “Every Sunday was spent with my granddad, and NASCAR was our thing. I never could have imagined playing before the Daytona 500, [the] sport’s biggest event.”
Combs previously performed at the 2021 Daytona 500, albeit in front of a limited-capacity crowd. When he heads to the stage for next year’s performance, he will do so in front of fully packed grandstands. Combs will then perform for the raucous crowd while setting the stage for the Great American Race and an intriguing 2022 season.
The country star actually has two NASCAR performances in recent years. He also sat down with members of his band before the championship race at Phoenix to perform virtual music. Once they played the final note, the remaining playoff drivers — Chase Elliott, Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, and Brad Keselowski — headed onto the track for the final time in 2020. Elliott actually started at the rear of the field after a penalty, but he raced his way to the front and captured his first championship trophy.
Combs Paid Tribute to a Legend During His Last Performance
The man responsible for “Beautiful Crazy” took the stage in February 2021, the 20th anniversary of Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s death. He paid tribute to the seven-time NASCAR champion by performing his set at Daytona International Speedway while wearing a custom letterman jacket.
According to Taste of Country, the right sleeve of the jacket featured Earnhardt’s number. The left side had an American flag, the GM Goodwrench logo, and a Winston Motorsports patch. The back of the jacket featured a photo of the late racer, his signature, and a list of the championship seasons.
In addition to honoring Earnhardt, Combs also chatted with another NASCAR legend. He and seven-time champion Richard Petty spent time outside a tour bus, just enjoying the day and the conversation. The country star then headed to the stage and performed five songs for the excited fans.
NASCAR is Returning to Normal After a COVID-Altered 2020
Bringing Combs back to perform once again only continues NASCAR’s return to normal. The sanctioning body has been making adjustments throughout 2021 to entertain the fans, including having some artists perform before the shows.
The All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway served as a fitting example. The Red Rocker himself, Sammy Hagar, headed to the stands and picked up his guitar. He and his band proceeded to perform “I Can’t Drive 55” while the NASCAR drivers took their pace laps around the 1.5-mile oval.
Hagar and his band reached the end of the song right as the drivers completed their final pace laps. He shouted for them to hit the gas while serving as the de facto starter, and they responded by putting the pedal to the floor and taking off for the first of six rounds. Kyle Larson, the pole-sitter, quickly jumped to the front of the pack while Kyle Busch kept pace.